Monday, August 31, 2009

Apparently Yahoo! Mail Thinks I'm Spamming

Last night I was sending an e-mail to myself (testing my newsletter - have you signed up yet?), and got a verification box where I had to type a few characters to confirm I, indeed, was a human. There was a note saying that this is Yahoo's way of fighting spam.

Apparently, I'm spamming... myself! Nice.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Our Lobster Adventure

A few weeks ago we decided to make lobster bisque. We went to Chinatown (a great place to buy inexpensive fresh seafood) in search of a lobster. There are three seafood markets on the same block, and we've gotten salmon and shrimp from them several times. We didn't see any lobsters right away and inquired if they are available at one of the markets. It turns out they were available, and we requested a 2-lb one. The person helping us went to the back of the store, got into a huge tank and took out a big lobster who was... alive! We did not anticipate buying a live lobster. Having never cooked one before, we weren't quite sure what to do with it!

On the way home, we kept wondering if he was going to fit into our biggest pot. Here he is, sitting the sink. I wondered if I should wash him before cooking him.

I showed him to Ruby, but she was indifferent.

As you can see, he fit in the pot! Just barely, but he fit. I felt bad cooking the poor little guy.

Directions said to cook him for 10 min once water starts boiling; that was way too long, as the meat turned out a bit chewy. I'll know next time.

The funniest part was Husband trying to extract the meat using... a nut cracker. We accidentally gave away our seafood crackers when we moved, and a nearby grocery store did not carry any. We had to get creative, but it worked. :)

The bisque turned out good, but not great. I am going to try a different recipe next time!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Receivables - A Raincoat

I am extremely happy with my Hunter rain boots; they keep my feet dry when it rains, and I love that. I realized that I also need a raincoat; otherwise the rest of me gets drenched when it rains heavily!

I really like this Women's Regular SunShower Raincoat from Lands' End. At $79.50, it comes in a variety of colors, but I like the happy yellow.

I am in love with this Betsey Johnson Fit & Flare Trench Coat (pictured)! It's stylish yet functional, and I love the red detail. It is pricey at $198, so it will be my mission to find it for less when we take a trip to the outlets right outside of NYC.

This Eileen Fisher Raincoat is also really cute. I like that plum color! It is also pricey at $198, but maybe it will go on sale soon!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Color Inspiration: Sunflowers!

I purchased a bouquet of these stunning sunflowers at the market last weekend. The vibrant yellows and deep browns just blew me away! If I were to get married to Husband again, I would strongly consider using these stunning flowers in my wedding.

They have also inspired a piece or two that will be coming to my shop as soon as I find the right ingredients. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Edibles - Tomato Basil Soup

This soup is wonderful in the summer; what's better is that you can eat it cold or hot! I love how simple yet how delicious this recipe is.

I made it a few years ago, and went searching for the recipe online. I didn't find it, but believe it or not, I made it from memory this past weekend, and it turned out just how I remember it!

Ingredients
2 lb fresh tomatoes on the vine
1 medium red onion
15-20 fresh basil leaves (reserve 1-2 leaves)
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water
salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Preparation
Cube tomatoes and onion; mince the garlic clove. Chop all but 1-2 basil leaves in small pieces.

Heat olive oil in a pot. Add tomatoes, onion, garlic and chopped up basil leaves, and cook for several minutes until the onion turns translucent.

Add water, salt, pepper, a little bit of sugar and balsamic vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes.

After the mixture cools, blend in a food processor or a blender. Add more salt, pepper and sugar as needed. Cut 1-2 reserved basil leaves in thin slices and add to each portion before serving. Enjoy this soup hot or cold!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Morning Pastime

Hi all! It's Wednesday again, and it's good to be back here writing for you again. I thought I'd tell you about things I do every day once Momma goes to work and leaves me to my own devices.

I like to read the newspaper every morning. It's good to stay up to date on current events, so I read the News section first.

I also like to learn the latest market news, so I read Market Place next.

Money and Investing is really interesting. Someday I want to be able to invest all my cat dollars in good companies and make lots of money to buy all the catnip in the world!


Then I quickly look through the rest of the sections and pause if I see something interesting.


By the time I am done with the entire newspaper, I am so tired! I organize the paper neatly and take a nap until lunch time.


That's all for today! A big Meow to all and thanks for stopping by,

Ruby

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Irreplaceables - Nutella


We don't buy Nutella very often, but when we do, I always wonder how I made it so long without it. Seriously, this stuff is so deliciously addicting!

Next time you get a crepe, try one with Nutella and bananas - you will not be disappointed! To enjoy it in the comfort of your own home, cut up a sour apple and dip it in Nutella for a delicious (and not so nutritious) snack! A couple of weeks ago, I had Nutella-filled French toast for brunch. It was by far the best French toast I've ever had! I tried to replicate it at home this weekend, and still have some work to do. As soon as I perfect it, I'll share it with you!

Monday, August 24, 2009

jaC Procures at Rick's Picks - Smokra!

This weekend we discovered a new vendor at Union Square Farmers Market - Rick's Picks! They are at the market year-round, and I cannot believe it has taken us this long to stop by their booth. We sampled five or six of their offerings, and are now hooked! While everything we tried was unique and delicious, we immediately decided that our first purchase would be Smokra.

What is Smokra, you ask? It is pickled okra with smoked paprika! What a unique delicious taste with a bite. Just love it! Mean Beans have a kick to them and will make a great Christmas present to my brother-in-law; it is already on our list of future purchases.

The best part? You don't have to go to the market to shop Rick's Picks - you can place an order right on their website and have the delicious pickled goodness shipped to you!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Winnables - a $10 Gift Certificate to my Etsy Shop!

It has been a while since the last giveaway, so let's do another! This time, you can win a $10 gift certificate to my shop! The prize goes up to $15 if you spend $100 or more.

To enter the giveaway:

1. Leave a comment and let me know when you start purchasing gifts for the winter holidays.

2. Be sure to leave your name and e-mail address right in the comments section, so that I have a way to get in touch with you.

I will pick a winner at random, and that person will receive a $10 gift certificate to my Etsy shop! This contest will be open for two weeks; the winner will be announced on September 6, 2009. One entry per person only. Good luck!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lychee Fruit!

Last Sunday I purchased some fresh lychees in Chinatown. If you like lychee martinis, you will likely enjoy the fresh lychee as well!

All you have to do is peel them (there are two layers - the outer one and then a deep purple one). For the pink variety that I bought (pictured below), if the outer color of the fruit is light brown (or anything other than pink, really), it's an indication the fruit has gone bad, and you do not want to buy it. I was not aware of this and found out the hard way!


You can also make fresh lychee juice! I had a glass at a restaurant not too long ago, and it was wonderful.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Edibles - Share your Favorite Soup Recipes!

This sunday, we got a live lobster and made lobster bisque! I will be posting pictures and telling all about that fun experience shortly. The bisque turned out good, but not great. I am going to research and try out other recipes before sharing one with you.

Today, I thought I'd do something a little different. Instead of posting a recipe, I'm going to ask you to share yours instead! I've decided to make more soups and need your ideas! What are your favorites? Thanks, everyone!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tricked!

Hi everyone! I am back. Some good news, and some not-so-good news. First, we had a conference, and despite my mischievous behavior last week (and every week before that), Momma has agreed to solidify my position as The Purrrrmanent Kitten Guest Writer every Wednesday. Meow!!!

The bad news is, Momma tricked me. If you recall, last week I shared with you that I drink water out of glasses that humans leave unattended all over this apartment. In case you happened to miss it, you can read about it here. Well, Momma read that and quickly found a work-around. You see, everyone was using these short square glasses, and they were purrrfect. Now, Momma has switched to using similar glasses, only they're taller and skinnier. Here they are next to each other.

Taller is not the issue here; the problem is, my head is too big to get into the skinnier glasses! I tried really hard.

Then I tried some more.

It just wasn't working.

Ah well, I can still splash water! Be back next week, everyone!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday Irreplaceables - Morning Caffeine!

I never drank coffee until I started working. Even then it took me a little while, but now I have to have a cup of coffee in the morning to function. Just that one cup, and I am ready to start my day.

Ever since we discovered the French Press (you can read all about it here), we've been using it exclusively - it makes the best coffee! As for the coffee itself, we've been buying Starbucks coffee for a while, with a few random finds from Ross Boutique and TJ Maxx here and there. I'd love to hear your favorite kind of coffee!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Unscheduled!


I know I'm not supposed to be back before Wednesday, but I wanted to make a cameo appearance and show you how cute I am (not that you don't already know)... Here I am, hanging out on the laundry hamper. Happy Monday, everyone! I am out of here until Wednesday. :) If anyone (read: Momma) asks, you didn't see me.

Meow,
Ruby

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Our Wall Used to be Ivory...

...and is now pink-ish. I bought a beautiful set of burgundy sheets. They are perfect in every way, except that they stained part of the wall adjacent to the bed!

We've washed them several times, but that doesn't seem to help. Other than the obvious solution (don't use them anymore), do you have any suggestions on how to prevent the wall from getting stained?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Receivables - Photography and Fine Arts by Lauri

I found the most amazing Etsy shop to add to my list of favorites! Photography and Fine Arts by Lauri offers the most beautiful photography. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Love this SEA SHELLS COLLECTION- Fine Art Photography Prints- 5x7. It will go perfectly in my room!

I am a huge fan of cherry blossoms; there is a wide selection of cherry blossom photographs in Lauri's shop. It was hard to choose a favorite, but I just love the colors of this LOVE BLOSSOMS- Signed Fine Art Photograph 5X7.


There are many more gorgeous photos in her shop! Check them out.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Wearables – Asymmetrical Necklaces!

A few weeks ago, I procured some fantastic brushed silver components and hammered silver beads. I used them to create several asymmetrical necklaces that are just perfect for the summer!

Almost Singled Out Necklace - Large Round Lava Beads and Sterling Silver Asymmetrical Necklace


I am planning on making new designs this weekend, so be sure to check out my shop next week for new additions!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Edibles – Salad Dressing

If you are ever out of salad dressing (or tired of the same old), here is an easy recipe you can throw together in five minutes!

Ingredients
Equal proportions of fresh lemon or lime juice, extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar
1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown sugar to taste

Preparation
Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix well.

You can also add your favorite herbs; in the summer, I love adding fresh chopped up rosemary and thyme, and even chives! For a little kick, add chili or red pepper powder.

Pour over salad and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Don't Tell Momma...

Hi everyone! It's Ruby again! Hope you've all had a very good week thus far. I really enjoy talking to you! I am going to see if Momma lets me become a permanent kitten guest writer every Wednesday.

OK, everyone, you're going to have to promise that you will keep v-e-r-y quiet about this. I've been telling you about sneaky little things I do here and there... but this one is r-e-a-l-l-l-y sneaky. When momma or papa leave their glasses of water sitting around, do you know what I do? I drink out of them when nobody is looking! I even do it to our guests. Heee heee heee...

I also like to splash that same water around. All I have to do is put my paw in the glass, then take out really fast. Voila! Water splashes everywhere - so fun!

Now, if Momma learns about my drinking water from humans' glasses, she will not be happy, but I know my secret is safe with you. ;) If I don't get suspended for bad behavior, I'll be back next week!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday Irreplaceables - Air Conditioner!

Yesterday was the first hot day of the summer. It was 93 degrees and humid, so it felt like 100 degrees. We are lucky to have had such a mild summer so far!

I am convinced that air conditioners are one of the best inventions ever! I very much appreciate having them both at work and at the apartment, and have a hard time comprehending how people EVER lived without them.

Stay cool, everyone!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I Need Your Mint Recipes!

Fresh mint has been one of my favorite herbs since childhood. This summer, I have been buying fresh bunches of the most fragrant mint at the farmers market. I use it to make hot and iced tea, but some of it goes bad. I don't want to dry it... I'd like to use it fresh.

I did a search on the internet, and no interesting recipes came up. I need your ideas! What dishes do you make with fresh mint? Thanks for sharing!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Unreasonables - You Can Call Us, or You Can E-mail Us and THEN Call Us

When I started my new job, I was setting up online accounts for benefits, pension plans, etc. One website already had my info (great), but the address on file was my old address. After looking around for a few minutes, I did not figure out how to change it. I looked through FAQ and found no answer.

I clicked on "Help". It said: "You can call us at XYZ number, or you can e-mail us your question by filling out the below form, and we'll e-mail you the answer."

Great! I don't know about you, but I don't like calling customer service unless I absolutely have to. Given that I was at work, and given that these types of service companies have long waits to speak to someone, I did not want to be stuck on hold forever.

I filled out the form, clearly stated my question and hit "Submit".

In another 24 hours, I get an e-mail back:

"Thank you for contacting Anonymous Service Company! We are available to answer your questions at XYZ number.

Thank you for contacting Anonymous Service Company!"

Yes, it thanked me twice for contacting them. Yes, it gave me the same phone number I saw on the website the day before. What you see above is pretty much the word for word replica of the e-mail I received.

This was humorously unreasonable, I thought.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Receivables - Bath and Body Products by Crowley Manor

I came across this shop looking for items for a new Treasury, and thought that any soap that looks good enough to eat must be pretty special! Until I read the titles, I really thought this shop was full of baked goodness. Check out this Orange Truffle Kahlua It's Coffee Sweet Almonds e.o, Vanilla and Orange e.o. - 5 oz - AKA the OMG II Soap. How pretty is that?!

Or Orange Delight - cold process soap orange essential oil soap - moisturizing, with rich lather. I am also loving the Lemongrass Splendor - Gently purify your skin - Moroccan Red Clay Lemongrass EO Olive Oil Handmade Cold Process Soap - 5 oz - lemony and refreshing.

There are at least a dozen more flavors I wouldn't mind trying out!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Big Dave's Big Gift - Cancer Awareness Items Available for Sale Now

Suzanne Turner, my next-door neighbor in NC and a dear friend, lost her son David Christopher Turner to lymphoma on June 6, 2009. He was only 26 years old.

Just a few days before he passed, Suzanne called me and asked if I would be interested in making cancer awareness jewelry for the David Turner Lymphoma Foundation that he had originally created to raise money for a stem cell transplant. When he learned that he would be unable to receive a transplant, David partnered with the American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org/) to form a program in his honor to raise money for people to receive stem cell transplants on behalf of the American Cancer Society and the David Turner Lymphoma Foundation. He worked non-stop to set up the foundation and implement his fundraising ideas until the very last day. Some of you got to know David Turner's story from this blog post back in April. Here are links where you can get more information:

To learn more about the Foundation's mission and David's fight, please visit http://bigdavesbiggift.org/.
To read David's story, please visit http://jacjewelry.net/Cancer_Awareness.html.
To watch a segment in which David was interviewed and recognized as "Person of the Week" on ABC 11 News, Raleigh, NC, please visit http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/video?id=6850291

Suzanne has resigned from her job as a school teacher to continue David’s vision. Cancer-themed items, including my bracelets pictured below, will be available at http://bigdavesbiggift.org/home.html soon. In the mean time, please visit the Cancer Awareness/Charity section of my Etsy shop to purchase cancer-themed items. All proceeds from Cancer Awareness items will go to the David Turner Lymphoma Foundation.


I am honored to work with Suzanne and David’s family and make sure his legacy and vision live on. He is an inspiration to all of us, and we will always remember his amazing strength and spirit!

The tags in the red pearl bracelet pictured above were hand-stamped by Monica of moonovermaize. She has generously hand-stamped many more message charms free of charge for cancer-themed earrings that will be available for sale soon. Thank you, Monica!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thursday Edibles – Cucumber, Basil and Sweet Chili Sauce Salad

I found this recipe on the side of the sweet chili sauce bottle. It sounded good, so I gave it a try. I LOVE it! It is so refreshing and flavorful, and is perfect for the summer. I've made it several times already, and I am sure I'll be making it again! Here is the recipe; I don't stick to the exact amounts - I cut everything up and add a little more of this or that based on the taste. :) Did I mention it takes five minutes to make?

Ingredients
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2-3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons basil, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons red onions, diced
salt and black pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, chopped

Preparation
Combine cucumbers, bell pepper, lime juice, sweet chili sauce, basil, onion, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Sprinkle with peanuts before serving.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Don't Tell Papa

Hi! It's Ruby again. I really enjoyed blogging for you last week, so I woke up extra early this morning, quietly made my way to Momma's computer, and here I am! You see, Momma's computer used to be in the living room, but now that she's got her work space all set up here in the bedroom, I have to be extra q-u-i-e-t when I type. Shhhhh!

I did two thousand naughty things this week. Only two! Can you believe it? I have been such a good kitten, which I admit is very hard to do at four months old. Want to hear about them?

Papa has all sorts of writing utensils on his desk. They make purrfect toys! So one day I hopped on his desk and threw one of his pencils on the floor.

Is anyone coming?

No? Good, I can play!

After I chased the pencil around the room for a bit, Papa heard suspicious noises and came to the room. I quickly lay down on this little rug pretending to rest. When he sees me like this, he won't suspect a thing!

Another thing had to do with my eye drops. I managed to get an infection in my left eye, but it was nothing. It didn't bother me at all; nonetheless the vet prescribed eye drops THREE times a day! What a nuisance they were, let me tell you. I tolerated them for over a week, and then decided to hide them. Enough is enough. I tucked them away under the love seat. It took Momma and Papa a day and a half to find them! Bad, I know, but I was almost done with the treatment anyway.

Well, I think it's time for my morning play session. Talk to you soon, everyone!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday Irreplaceables - An Office Shoe Drawyer!

And I thought my high heel days are over. Was I wrong!

I have all these extra drawyers that are empty; I started slowly migrating my pumps into one of them, and how there is quite a collection of them there. It's the best of both worlds. I wear flats to and from work, and change into high heels when I get there. I think my shoe drawyer may possibly be the best invention ever! If you don't have one, get one NOW.

Another benefit is that I have more room at home to buy new shoes! As soon as I have some extra cash, I'll be using it to house these gorgeous Nate 2 pumps; this gorgeous pair in Blue lace nappa print; and these darling Marc Jacobs shoes.