Raise Your Glass

With the new year fast approaching, it is easy to look forward to all of the exciting things that will take place in 2011.

But it is worth mentioning that 2010 was certainly a good year. Matt and I got engaged and many of our friends celebrated their own weddings. Abby took a new job as the head coach for an awesome swim team and has managed to lead them to a top ranking so far this season. Matt, Abby, my mom and I successfully completed the 110 mile bike ride that is the Pan Mass and raised more than 20,000 dollars to fight cancer. Matt and I conquered Half Dome in Yosemite. And although the Red Sox didn’t have their best season, the Yankees weren’t able to defend their World Series title. I started my blog and was featured on Freshly Pressed! All in all, it was a good year.

I already have some good news for 2011 that concerns my employment. Unfortunately, I am not ready to make my announcement official (I know, the suspense is killing me too!). But in the spirit of things, I thought I would post this video that was featured on the Ellen Show earlier this year, celebrating her 1200th episode. Don’t get excited, I am not going to working for Ellen. But watching this made me realize, Ellen has the best job in the world. Not only because she is famous and probably she makes a lot of money (but let’s be honest, compared to Oprah, she is destitute), but because she truly loves what she does. I think we can all be inspired by her passion for life, her infectious laughter, and her killer dance moves.

2010 was a good one, but 2011 is certainly coming in strong…

Goodie Bags

vintage birthday party clipart

Some of my favorite childhood memories are from the countless Birthday parties that I attended as a child. Whether it was a party at Good Times Roller Skating Rink, a pool party in someone’s back yard or a sleep over, I was always down to celebrate. I enjoyed being with my friends, buying Birthday presents and of course, eating cake. However, the best part of the Birthday party was receiving the coveted goodie bag.

It comes as no surprise that my mom was a little restrictive of the “treats” that we used to eat. Our pantry was stocked with Raisin Bran and Grape Nuts, we drank Juicy Juice (never soda) and there was always something green on our plate. To this day, neither Abby nor I have had a Twinkie, Ring-Ding or Ho-Ho. And to be honest, I doubt I am really missing out.

But when it came to Birthday parties, there were no rules. I could eat as many slices of ice cream as I wanted, eat both cake AND ice cream and drink multiple cans of soda. While I would often go home with a severe tummy ache, it was always worth it. But the best part was digging into the goodie bag, which often contained candy. The party would continue into the coming week with lollipops, bazooka bubble gum and ring pops. For a kid who always had trident gum and fruit roll ups were a real treat, a goodie bag was a whole ‘nother thing.

Today I had the privilege of going to the dentist. Although they yelled at me for my infrequent flossing and the fact that I still have my wisdom teeth, they told me that I have been doing a fantastic job at brushing. Even though I am 28 years old, it is always nice to hear that my dental hygiene skills are top-notch! However, even better than the praise, was the goodie bag I received at the end of my visit. Although the goodies have changed since the day of Birthday parties, it still brought a smile to my face.

I can’t wait to use my new toothbrush, toothpaste and floss!

I really know how to have a good time.

New Year’s Resolution

The history of making New Year’s resolution began with the Babylonians approximately 4,000 years ago. The Babylonians New Year’s Day was March 23rd. March was a logical time period for the New Year because spring begins and crops are planted. The Romans celebrated the New Year on March 1st, not January 1st.

New Years Day was changed to January 1st by Julius Caesar to honor Janus, the two-faced god who looks backwards into the old year and forward into the new. January 1st has no astronomical or agricultural significance. It was a random date selected by Julius Caesar. The vision of Janus started the custom of New Year’s resolutions. Most of the resolutions were based on moral favor.

Studies show that in the past 10 years, 40 to 45% of American adult make one or more resolutions each year. Among the top New Year’s resolutions are resolutions about weight loss, exercise, and stopping to smoke. Also popular are resolutions dealing with better money management / debt reduction. Although many people fail to achieve their goals, or break their resolution before the year is up; you are always going to come closer to achieving your goal if you set one, than if you don’t even try.

With our wedding less than six months away, Matt and I are feeling the pressure. The pressure to get things in place, the pressure to start paying our bills, and the pressure to look good. Yes, we are joining the masses and making a New Year’s resolution to get in tip-top wedding shape.

After a wonderful week at home, Matt and I returned to New York to a mess slush and snow. We are tired but decided to make a trip to the gym. We kicked off “the new year” a week early with a solid work out and a healthy dinner. Later that night, Matt made a good point when he said, “we are starting our New Year’s resolution a week early. That means we will always be a week skinnier than everyone else.”

So to everyone else trying to get in shape during 2011, catch us if you can!

The Christmas Story

Every year my family watches the movie, The Christmas Story. The movie takes place in Cleveland, Ohio which is where my father grew up. And the main character, Ralphie, was my dad reincarnated. From the red rider b.b. gun (with a compass in the stock and a thing that tells time) to the part where the kids gets his tongue stuck to the flag poll, the movie has so many memorable moments.

Well walking down main street in Milford, NH we encountered yet another Christmas Story memory.

I am happy to report that despite the lack of snow, the Christmas spirit is alive and well in New Hampshire.

Cookie Swap

Tonight, Matt and I are going to the annual Taste Bud’s holiday party. I missed this glorious event last year and got to hear all about it from all my other “Taste Budders.” Right then, I knew this was not an event I wanted to miss again. So when I got my paperless post invite, I reserved the date on my calendar and started to get excited.

The party is a cookie swap, where everyone makes their favorite holiday treat and brings enough to distribute to the group. So you come to the party with a tray of your favorite cookies and leave with a tray containing an assortment of Taste Bud’s finest! With Taste Buds being a company that runs cooking classes and parties for kids, I knew the stakes were going to be high. I had to come up with a delicious, yet festive, cookie.

I decided to go with Gingerbread Snowflakes. These have been my “go to” cookie for the past 2 years. They are beautiful, as well as delicious, something of a rarity in holiday cookies. So after baking the cookies Tuesday night, I spent last night piping royal icing onto dozens of Gingerbread snowflakes. It was a lot of work, but my sous-chef did a great job helping out!

I will certainly capture the moments of the Taste Bud’s celebration. It is sure to be a great evening filled with some of my favorite people and delicious food!

For the  Gingerbread Snowflake recipe, please click here.

Food Network Challenge

While Matt and I both enjoy some of the same tv shows, like Boardwalk Empire, Gossip Girl, The Sing-Off and Mad Men, there are a few shows we disagree on. I can’t even be in the same room as Matt when he is watching True Blood, and he doesn’t fully appreciate Glee in the same vein that I do. One of the biggest tv disagreements is over “Challenge” on the Food Network. Every time I put this show on, Matt feels the need to tell me that he doesn’t understand the point of it, and quickly grabs the remote. If only there were a lock feature on the tv that would prevent him from changing the channel on me.

Last night, our apartment turned into the set from this very show. After coming home from work, spending some much-needed time in the gym and a quick shower, I spent the rest of the evening making holiday treats. I worked quickly to make as many different things as I could before my 11pm bedtime! I made fudge, peppermint bark, puppy chow and chocolate peanut butter bark. Only after I spent hours in the kitchen did I check my mailbox and see that I had received a package from my grandma containing nearly the same exact treats! Great minds really do think alike.

While the puppy chow is certainly my favorite treat to eat, the chocolate peanut butter bark is my favorite to look at. It looks like art – I had a hard time breaking it apart into smaller pieces because I didn’t want to ruin the overall design.

Happy Holiday Baking!

Another Reason Why Yale Sucks

After performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, the Sing Off has returned to prime time.

While watching this, my reason for living was fulfilled. I was cheering, clapping and dancing around my apartment. And hundreds of miles away, Abby was doing the same thing. If I ever had any doubt before, I am now sure that we definitely are related.

While some could argue that making it onto this show is evidence enough that Yale is “better” than Harvard, I would regretfully disagree. However, if this is what is means to be the best, then I am certainly happy to sit in second place. Great job Whiffenpoofs (honestly, just the name makes me a gag a little…)!

My vote this season goes to the Backbeats.

4 more nights of competition. I am already a little teary eyed that the competition is so short…

The First Snow Fall

While it has been snowing on my blog for a week or so now, today was the first day where flurries fell from the sky in New York city. Although it wasn’t much, that first snow fall experience is a magical one. To me, there is nothing that compares to looking out the window and seeing snow falling down. It is just like being inside a snow globe.

Martha Stewart Craft Show

After waiting outside in line, in the freezing cold temperatures, I got to experience the Martha Stewart Craft Fair. Held in the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia offices, 90 different vendors displayed their homemade projects and crafts. Many of the vendors were current or previous Martha employees, so my expectations for the event were very high.

While getting a pick into Martha’s world was exciting and the decor was nice, I was slightly disappointed with the products being sold. Half of the stuff were things that I could have made myself and the other half were things that I wasn’t very interested in. In the end I walked away with a few Christmas presents, but mostly, I left feeling inspired to amp up the level of crafting that takes place in our apartment. And the timing couldn’t be better. With the holidays coming up, and the temperature outside dropping, I can entertain myself for hours in my warm and cozy apartment!

Does anyone else feel a trip to Michaels coming on? I certainly do!