Monthly Archives: November 2009

Goodbye Thanksgiving…Hello Christmas!

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving came and went as fast as it did! Now, I only have about three weeks to squeeze everything else in before CHRISTMAS! One thing I want to scratch off of my list this week is to get our Christmas tree! We will be spending Christmas with my family in Pittsburgh again, so I would like to have at least a few weeks to appreciate our own tree. When we drove back into the city last night, we saw all of the Christmas tree vendors lining the streets, and it made me very excited!

We have been going to the same Christmas tree vendor for the past few years, and we are very happy with their service, the prices, and the quality of the trees we have gotten. Thus, we will be returning to the nice men on 2nd Avenue and 19th Street again this year! It’s also right around the block¬†from our apartment, which makes the hauling home very easy…for my husband ūüôā

New York City was the site of the country’s very first Christmas tree retail lot. In 1851, Mark Carr hauled two sleds of pine trees from the Catskills to be sold in Manhattan. Today, bundled evergreens line the streets of New York City from Thanksgiving through Christmas. The scent of evergreens overpowers all of the other unpleasant NYC odors.

Prices can be steep ‚Äď running from $20 per foot in tree height and up.¬†Don’t be afraid to try to¬†bargain with your tree¬†vendor – they’re used to it.¬†You can¬†also have your tree delivered! If you‚Äôre not up for wrestling a¬†sticky tree up the stairs¬†of your walk-up, you will think the delivery fee is well worth it. There are also¬†some retailers that will¬†let you order online and have your real live Christmas tree shipped to your door.

Home Depot: Order fresh-cut Christmas trees and holiday wreaths and greenery online. Home Depot will deliver to your door within 5 to 7 business days. For example, a 4.5-5.5 foot fir tree will cost you $99.00 including delivery.

Macy’s: Macy’s now offers live Christmas trees shipped right to your door starting at $99 (plus shipping, which is $14.95+ per tree).

Once all of the Christmas fun is over and your tree has shed all over your floor, be sure to recycle it! The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation sponsors a Mulchfest in January. New Yorkers can leave their trees at the curb on designated days to be collected, chipped, and then mixed with leaves to make compost. The compost will be processed and spread upon parks, ball fields, and community gardens throughout the city.

Now, go to get your tree and be merry! ‚ô•

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Heading to the ‘burgh for Thanksgiving!

My husband, brother, and I are leaving NYC today and heading to Pittsburgh for a HUGE family Thanksgiving! I am one of seven – nearly everyone is married with kids, so you can imagine the crowd. It’s going to be fantastic!

I’m sure I’ll have plenty of stories to share from stuffing two 25lb turkeys to entertaining my 10 nieces and nephews to the travel to and from Pittsburgh…it’s the holidays – tis the time for funny stories!

Here’s a little glimpse of my hometown, Sewickley. It’s the kind of quaint town that you only see in movies…of course it brings its drama to anyone who grew up there, but I am so thankful to have been raised in Sewickley.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! ‚ô•

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one more…

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Mr. Bean Cooking Turkey

In honor of “Turkey Day” (as my Italian husband calls it), I thought it would be appropriate to share a Thanksgiving-inspired video. Since I love Mr. Bean and I love Thanksgiving, this is perfect:

Happy Early Turkey Day!!!

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Friend of a Farmer

On Saturday evening, my husband and I felt like sitting somewhere cozy and dim to enjoy an apperativo. We entertained the idea of heading uptown to a hotel bar, but we were on the Vespa and I was freezing so we decided to stick closer to home.

We decided to try Friend of a Farmer on Irving between 18th & 19th. We have eaten outside in the summer, but we had never been upstairs in the colder months. It was just what we were looking for. It felt like we were truly friends of a farmer who invited us to dine in their home.

The drink list was very interesting with cocktails that contained ingredients that are perfect for the season Рapple cider, pumpkin, pomegranate, etc. I tried one with cucumbers, lime, red grapes, and gin Рit was a little too messy for me since they literally smashed the ingredients on the bottom of the cup so I was primarily drinking seeds. I will just try another drink next time!

The menu is full of fresh ingredients that you would expect to eat on a farm – corn bread, country pie, chicken pot pie.¬†There are also other items that don’t scream FARM but still give you that homey, cozy, warm feeling when you’re eating them.

They even have their own bakery where they use the freshest and finest ingredients to bake hot muffins, cookies, brownies and assorted loaves of bread. Many of¬†their desserts are seasonal, which means you can find the perfect flavor for the time of the year –¬† pumpkin pies and muffins for Thanksgiving, warm apple pie for the cold winter months, and a rotating list of berry pies ranging from Blueberry to Cherry to Three Berry.

My husband and I both want to bring our parents the next time they visit us in NYC – it is the perfect spot to sit for hours while catching up. I like to consider myself a friend of this farmer!

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Frank Gehry’s Beekman Tower

I am not an architect nor do I really know much of anything about architecture, but I do appreciate and love design. One of the architects who has gained my attention and admiration¬†is Frank Gehry. I mean, you know he’s famous when “the Simpsons” includes him in an episode…

My fascination began when I watched a documentary on the Guggenheim Bilbao museum in Spain. He actually built it with steel from PITTSBURGH! That is just fantastic!

 

One of his buildings is in New York is the IAC Building in Chelsea. In daylight, it looks as though they forgot to remove some sort of white window tape Рthen you realize it is part of the design. At night, it really looks beautiful and adds a lot to a drive down the Westside Highway.

Why am I writing about Mr. Gehry?¬†He is the designer of the new Beekman Tower¬†downtown near the Brooklyn Bridge. Today, the building reached its highest height! There was¬†a small ceremony to celebrate the last piece being hiked to the top, and when Mr. Gehry came to the microphone he showed humor by simply stating, ‚ÄúNo Viagra,‚ÄĚ pointing straight up with his finger. It is his tallest building by far.

Beekman Tower

Frank described his inspiration by saying, ‚ÄúWe built many models of this. I holed myself up two days in a tall hotel room here and just looked at the skyline while I was designing it.‚ÄĚ The folds in the building were inspired by Bernini folds¬†– the folds on the clothing of marble sculptures carved in the 17th century.

The ways that Frank Gehry opens our eyes to the possibilities of architecture¬†shows us that it is an art form…and his descriptions are like poetry.

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Tim Burton @ MoMA

“Beetle juice, beetle juice, beetle juice!”

I grew up watching the Beetle Juice cartoon. I also have seen The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Fish, Mars Attacks, Batman Forever…and I am dying to see Alice in Wonderland this year! All of this goes to show that Tim Burton has been an influence in my life through movies…

The Museum of Modern Art is having a Tim Burton exhibit from November 22 through April 26 – showing a¬†career retrospective¬†consisting of a gallery exhibition and a film series. The exhibit shows Burton’s career as¬†a director, producer, writer, and concept artist. He has also worked¬†as a fiction writer, photographer and illustrator.

From his early childhood, Burton showed great visual imagination that carried through to his more mature work. Themes of adolescence, adulthood, elements of sentiment, cynicism, and humor are infused in his work through drawings, paintings, storyboards, digital and moving-images, puppets, props, costumes, sketchbooks, and cartoons. With pop culture as his inspiration, Burton has reinvented filmmaking as a spiritual experience, influencing a generation of young artists working in film, video, and graphics.

Two artists who have been influenced by Burton’s work are Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen. They¬†hit the red carpet Tuesday night to pay tribute to Tim Burton at¬†the Museum of Modern Art.

If you’ve enjoyed Burton’s movies as much as I have, I am sure you would also enjoy this exhibition.¬†Considering Tim Burton, it¬†is guaranteed not be dull…

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Midtown…the new (or old) ‘downtown’

If you’re looking to escape the scenes of Meatpacking, Soho or West Village, you may just want to venture UPTOWN to MIDTOWN! In these restaurants, bars and hotels you won’t be bothered by low ceilings, worn carpets, skinny 19-year-olds in torn jeans and t-shirts, $50 entrees that taste and look like $20, B-rated actresses who are only famous for their DUIs, etc. No, these midtown venues bring the feelings of old New York, class, charm and sophistication. You feel as though you are hanging out where your wealthy parents (or even grandparents) used to dress up to dine or drink. It is like living in a scene of Mad Men – where men and women dress and act appropriately with a little flavor of sexy naughtiness conducted in the classiest of manners.

There is also no drought of celebrities or public figures anymore. From Demi Moore’s fragrance party at the Monkey Bar to Madonna singing “Happy Birthday” at Casa Lever, it seems as though the better portion of all of the entertainment industries has made its way uptown as well…

Some places to go:

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Top Shop – back to the 80’s

 

A couple of weeks ago, while I was drowning in my 2-day ¬†jury duty sentence, I was released before my husband was finished with work. So, I figured that would be my only opportunity to stop in at Top Shop on a weekday. I have tried multiple times to go during the weekend, but it is always crowded to a point where any normal¬†New Yorker¬†over the age of 20 should have a panic attack…

I was very excited to hear a few months back that¬†Top Shop¬†was opening on Broadway near Broome Street. I have browsed the British site many times over the past few years for fashion inspiration. When Kate Moss became a featured contributor with her own line, I thought it was a very smart move and similar to that of H&M’s recent moves with Madonna, Jimmy Choo, etc. The biggest difference I found between Top Shop and H&M was the prices…$300 for a little studded jacket? This place is not your go-to bargain store for a quick fashion fix to help you dress for a last minute party…unless¬†Balenciaga is included in¬†your normal shopping spree…

Another thing I noticed once I had browsed my way past the sticker shock and a few Upper Eastside ‘gossip girls’, I realized that it was all 80’s inspired. I felt as though I had gone back in a time machine to the days when I was 7 years old rummaging through my 4 older sisters’ closets – bulky cord sweaters, tight¬†stone-washed jeans with zippers, huge shoulder pads, sequins, flowers, fuschia, purple, lace! ahhhhhhh…

Luckily, I found my way to the fifth floor where I found some cute boyfriend-inspired clothes – a trend I am in love with and always have been. I also found the Office shoe section, which I am positive was somehow inspired by yours truly. I bought a pair of great booties that have a big enough heel to have some height yet not hurt my feet after a day of work or add 5″ to my already 5’11” frame…

I’m happy with what I found, but struggling to rid myself of the 80’s deja vu and wondering if I will ever step foot in Top Shop again considering jury duty only comes around every 8 years or so…

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B&H – camera superstore

Yesterday, my husband and I went to B&H – the electronics megastore on West 34th Street and 9th Avenue. It is definitely the best store to buy anything related to cameras. The store operates like a¬†grown-up fantasyland – similar to¬†FAO Schwartz or Santa’s workshop for a child¬†– although¬†it is owned, managed, and staffed by¬†Hasidic Jews, so¬†you won’t find Christmas trees or¬†Santa hats here…¬†

There is a system of tracks running along the ceiling with purchases that meet the rightful owner after the cashiers. The customer only touches the products in the presence of a B&H representative. After the sale is complete, the customer is given a receipt and the purchase goes into a bucket and on its way to the pick-up station.

sony_cyber_shot_dsc_t_90

We were there because I had an unfortunate run-in with losing my camera in a taxi, so I did some research to find the best place to repurchase my Sony Cybershot. B&H had the best price by far – along with all of the extra little goodies including an 8GB memory card and case. I also purchased a 2-year damage warranty that will cover my camera if I break it or even drop it in the sink or toilet (which has happened to me before…).

All in all, B&H is my recommendation for top of the line products at a good price. Just don’t bother going on Friday after 1 pm or Saturday – they’re closed for Sabbath.

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