Little Things Turns One

Last week I passed an important milestone; my blog, Focus on the Little Things, celebrated its first anniversary. My first post was written on March 2nd, 2010 as I was seating on the couch contemplating my life. I had become so wrapped up in the negative aspects that I was unable to see the countless positive things I had. Thankfully one year later, I was so busy enjoying my life that I didn’t even realize a year had passed.This past year has gone by so quickly and I am certainly in a much better place now than I was last year.

I have found a job that makes me excited to out of bed in the morning. I believe so passionately in the work that I am doing and the organization’s mission. I work with people who have high expectations for me and for themselves and people who strive to make a difference in the way other people live their lives. I am proud to say that I work for Robin Hood.

Matt and I are getting ready to celebrate our wedding in less than four months. And while the planning process got off to a rocky start, things are smooth sailing from now until the big day. Just this morning we were able to check off the last “big ticket item” on our checklist. We can not wait to celebrate this occasion with our friends and family. Already the excitement that other people have shared with us, particularly the two amazing people planning my shower, has been incredible. It is such a good feeling to know that so many other people are just as excited as we are, for us to get married.

After two and a half years, I am slowly starting to adjust to life in New York. No, I am not a Yankees fan, and never will be. But I have come to terms with the fact that Matt and I don’t live in Boston, and probably won’t in the near future. Instead of focusing on the things that I like about Boston that New York lacks, I am trying to focus on the things that New York has that I do like. These things include the following: Central Park, Bleeker Street Pizza, the fact that the Today Show is my local news, Union Square farmers market, Matt Kinsella, riding my bike to Piermont, Rubix Kube and frequent visitors.

This year has been incredible. I owe that to my family, friends and of course Matt. I couldn’t imagine a life without him. He has truly helped me focus on the little things, and sometimes the big things, that make life so amazing.

So thanks for following along… hold on tight, this year is sure to be a good one.

Perceived Savings

When I was a freshman in college, I had no idea what I was doing…pretty  much when it came to everything related to college. I thought wearing sweatpants and my swimming parka to class was appropriate. I was fine with the idea that the girls on the swim team would be my only friends.  For some reason, watching Primal Scream seemed like a good idea. And I thought that “Ec 10” sounded like a fun class. I mean, all of my friends were taking it, so I figured I should too.

I had taken economics in high school. The main reason I signed up for this class was because Mr. Leonard, the football coach, taught the class. And while Mr. Leonard can’t really compare with, Mr. Schuester (my new favorite teacher, on Glee) he was a favorite among the ladies (in a non-creepy way!) Unfortunately, his teaching abilities or depth of the class didn’t go much more than how to create a supply and demand graph. For those of you who are familiar with my neat handwriting and anal charting skills, clearly you know I did well in this class. So when it came time to enroll in college classes, I figured I would dominate EC 10. Unfortunately, Economics is about a bit more than graphs.

In this class, I learned that just because a professor is world-renowned in an area, it doesn’t make him a good teacher. Thank you Martin Feldstein for teaching me this invaluable lesson! I also learned that I love Indian accents. My TF (also known as a TA) was from India and I spent most of my time in section trying to hide my laughter as opposed to paying attention. Many of our examples were about the supply and demand of “pizza,” which to this day brings a smile to my face just thinking about the pronunciation.

Other than that I didn’t retain a lot of information from this class. The one term that has stuck with me is Perceived Savings. I remember learning about this, and I believe we used baseball tickets as the example. If I remember correctly, we discuss the following idea:

If you are offered baseball tickets at 50% off, you think “Wow! This is great, I just saved 50% of the cost of the tickets.” However, if you hadn’t been offered that deal, there is a strong possibility that you wouldn’t have purchased the tickets to begin with. So while you think you are saving 50% of the cost, you are actually spending more money (the cost of the tickets) then you would have if you didn’t buy them at all. So while it may seem like a deal, your savings are simply perceived, not realized.

From the moment this theory was introduced, I didn’t like it. Of course you are saving money! You are gaining the value of the tickets (say 100 dollars) and it is only costing you 50 dollars. That is a deal! Who cares that you are out 50 dollars… you now have the experience of attending a baseball game (Go Red Sox!) AND the knowledge that most everyone sitting around you at the game paid twice as much as you did for that same experience. If that isn’t a win-win situation, I don’t know what is.

I experienced actual savings this weekend. Matt and I made a trip to Banana Republic for some new jeans. I left the store with the following:

– Jeans: originally 79.95 – I paid 35.50 (Savings of 44.45)
– Cardigan: originally 69.50, I paid 29.25 (Savings of 40.25)
– Tights: originally 25.00, I paid 18.75 (Savings of 6.25)
– Tee Shirt: originally 20.00, I paid 3.95 (Savings of 16.05)
– Skirt: originally 59.50, I paid 17.95 (Savings of 41.55)
– Black pants: originally 59.50, I paid 30.55 (Savings of 28.95)

So, what should have cost me 313.45 dollars, actually cost me just under 150 dollars (stupid New York taxes). Or in other words, I saved 163 dollars, or 52%. What a deal! And while some (aka Matt) might think that I spent 150 dollars that I didn’t really need to spend. I can assure you, the enjoyment that I will get out of my cute new clothes and the value that I place on getting “good deals” far exceeds the 150 dollar charge that is now residing on my credit card account!

If there is one good thing about the recession, it is the amazing sales that you find on a daily basis. My wardrobe has certainly benefited from these troublesome economic times.



Pizza Party

One of the great things about working at Cupcake Kids is learning fun new recipes. The most popular party that Jessi offers is the “Make Your Own Pizza Party.” I have to say that I became quite the expert in pizza making. Back in November/December of 2008, Jessi worked with a Charter School in Harlem to host field trips for their countless Kindergarten classes. So for 3-4 weeks straight, I would entertain groups of extremely well-dress eager chefs. We would talk about how yeast makes dough rise be releasing gas (like a burp), how honey makes the dough sweet, and how whole wheat flour is a little bit healthier than all-purpose. It was certainly a very tiring time, doing back-to-back classes for a few weeks straight, but I am now a proficient pizza maker. And last night, I put those skills to use.

I decided to make some pizza dough and use up some of the homemade marinara sauce I made Sunday for the baked ziti Matt and I enjoyed during Man Men.

Please enjoy the recipe, as written by Cupcake Kids! I highly recommend trying this at home!

Pizza Recipe-1

The pizza turned out alright, but I must admit, every time I have made it at home, it isn’t as good as the end product at Cupcake Kids. There must be a secret ingredient that the kids put in when I am not looking… oh wait, I think that is called slobber, boogies, and 5-year-old love!

Grab a Slice

New York City is known for the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Broadway theater, and of course, pizza. There are many places that claim to have the best pizza in NYC. Some are thin crust, others Chicago style; Sicilian and wood oven fired. Most people have heard of Famous Original Ray’s Pizza which is on nearly every corner in the city and of course, Lombardi’s, who claims to be America’s first full-fledged pizzeria. I have yet to visit Grimaldi’s which serves  coal oven pizza from their location underneath the Brooklyn bridge. Of all of the places that I have been to, my favorite is definitely Bleeker Street Pizza.

However, a more un-know pizza spot, Kornet, located on the way upper west side (111th street) has provided me with some of the best memories of my time in NYC.

My sister introduced me to this place which is a favorite of Columbia students, especially after a late night out. When she first told me about it, I couldn’t believe her description on the pizza. In her own words, she said “the pizza is as big as your head.” For an English major with a vast vocabulary, I was slightly concerned that this was the best way she could think of to describe the pizza; however, after experiencing it myself, she couldn’t have been more right.

Well, maybe she could have been… after a visit this week, she decided to change her description to: “pizza as big as a baby.”

Please feel free to let me know of any good pizza places in New York that you think I should try!