Saturday, October 31, 2009

I’ve been Tagged

The title should really read something like: "I was tagged a looooong time ago." I just discovered this on Monica's blog, though, and figured better late than never! :)

What is your current obsession?
Lampwork beads! (Buying them, not making them). Take a look at my shop in another two weeks or so, and you will see what I mean. Just earlier this week, I posted three pieces that incorporate lampwork beads, and I've got several sets on the way!

What is your weirdest obsession?
David Bowie! His music is weird, but I absolutely LOVE it.

What are you wearing today?
A wool dress and my Hunter rain boots.

What’s for dinner?
Street meat! Wondering what it is? One night every week, Husband picks up dinner at a Halal cart. There are multiple Halal carts all over NYC streets; apparently this one is the best (although we've never tried it)! He usually gets a delicious foot-long cheese steak, and I am lucky enough to steal a few bites of it. :)

What is your favourite book?
Catch-22 is one of them.

What’s the last thing you bought?
A ton of lampwork beads on Etsy! See, I wasn't lying about my current obssession.

What are you listening to right now?
My kitty playing with blinds.

What is your favourite ice-cream flavour?
Green tea!

What do you think of the person who tagged you?
Monica is one of the nicest, warmest people I've ever met! The funny thing is, we've never actually met in person, but I am sure my impression of her won't change if/when we do!

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
Does it have to be only one house? One would be a charming little apartment in Paris, and the other would be a small cottage in a tiny French village. I'll take a condo in NYC as well... That makes it three, but if they're paid for, I might as well get several, right?!

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour where would you go?
China. My friend is leaving for China tonight for good, and I am very, very sad.

Which language do you want to learn?
French.

What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
A black dressy skirt by Laundry by Shelli Segal. It's romantic, pretty and timeless. It is the most I have ever spent on a piece of clothing (other than my wedding dress) - it wasn't on sale, so I paid full price for it four years ago. It was an emergency purchase for a very important event that I did not anticipate attending until the night before. I still love it so!

If you had a £100 now, what would you spend it on?
Shoes!

Describe your personal style?
Quirky and quick-witted. Or are we talking about clothes?

What are you going to do after this?
Get on the train and go see my friend before she leaves for China. :(

What are your favourite movies?
I don't watch a lot of them... I loved "Girl with a Pearl Earring".

What is your favourite fruit?
Raspberries.

What inspires you?
Nature and the bead shops in NYC.

What is your dream job?
Hmmm... Haven't figured it out! I love what I do now, so this may be it!

What is stopping you?
Nothing!

What is your favorite season of the year?
Spring and autumn. Summer is too hot, winter can be too cold...

Something about yourself that makes no sense?
At my day job, I work with numbers... Lots of numbers. My job is very analytical. I have degrees in science and finance. People at work would never expect me to be creative, and people who know me through my jewelry are surprised to hear what I do at my day job.

What do you do when nobody is around?*
Wonder why nobody is around.

The rules:
1. Respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more question of your own. (I added the last question market with an asterisk. I also took out a few questions to which I couldn't think of an answer. :))
2. Tag other people.

I am tagging:

Alison
Stacy
Pam
Eve

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Edibles - Hot Dogs!

I have an unhealthy obsession with hot dogs - no idea why. I get one every chance I get (which is a lot). NYC has a hot dog stand on every corner; sometimes I think that this is reason enough to move to NYC! Seriously. I LOVE them.

Today's post is not a recipe - I just wanted to share with you the fantastic hot dogs we had at Gray's Papaya a couple of weekends ago! They were delectable! I got Papaya juice with my dogs; the rest of their juices are delectable also (especially coconut). As you can guess though, I don't go there for the juice. :)

Aren't these fine-looking hot dogs?!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Irreplaceables – Neosporin

First, let me take care of some housekeeping.

Yesterday morning time got away from me, and before I knew it, I had to leave for work! Hence no post. I'm back today though!

We will be doing a weekly grammar review; there are at least four of you who have requested it, so I am going to pick a day and start within a week!

Now on to the Tuesday post! I discovered Neosporin only a few years ago, and have been using it ever since, be it on an occasional break-out or blemish, a cut or a scratch. It works wonders! It makes blemishes disappear overnight and helps cuts heal faster while protecting against infection. Love it!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shall We?

Remember this post about Strunk and White's Elements of Style? We all could use a grammar refresher now and then. I thought it might be a good idea if I took one basic principle of the English language from Elements of Style and posted it here once a week.

What do you think - would you be interested in something like that?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Brooklyn Show is Today!

I am closing my shop down for the day, as I will be selling my jewelry at a show in Brooklyn!

Wish me luck - it is supposed to rain all day, but I hope we will have some buyers! There will be several other Etsy sellers at the show, and I am excited to meet them. It will be fun either way!

My shop will be open for business as soon as I am back from the show tonight.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Wearables - Bridal Shower Gifts!

I recently finished an order of over 20 Simplicity Collection necklaces for a bridal shower! The bridesmaid who placed the order wanted to give the bride and attendees a timeless, classic piece of jewelry with a bridal flair. We decided that this Simplicity Collection Necklace - Sterling Silver Chain Necklace with Large White Round Pearl and Vermeil Brushed Disks Pendant , $36, was just that! The theme of the shower was Tea Party, and pearls are a must for any tea party. Here they are, ready to be wrapped!

Here are the wrapped necklaces, ready to go to the Tea Party! The bride and attendees loved them.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday Watchables - Who Loves Michael Scott?

I don't watch much TV; in fact, the only show I watch religiously is The Office. I never watched the English version and thought that the show was weird at best. It took me three or four episodes to really "get" it and discover how hilarious it really is! Husband has always been a huge fan, and now we don't miss an episode if we can help it.

Last year, Husband discovered The Mentalist, and we started watching that also. (Simon Baker is the lead, which is enough reason for me to watch it!) When we found out that it was moving to Thursday nights, we were thrilled! I am sad to say that the late show time (10 to 11 pm) makes it hard for us to watch it; we have only been able to stay up twice since the new season began. If you're up at that time, check it out!

What do you watch on TV?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Now I Know Why Momma Likes to Make Jewelry!

Hi all -

It's Ruby again! What I am going to tell you about today is Top Secret stuff, so you are going to promise me not to tell Momma about this under any circumstances.

The other night, while Momma stepped away from her jewelry-making, I got into her beads! I found an entire basket full of shiny silver wire; all kinds of stones and pearls; and other fun stuff!

Then I found more stuff - pearls (aren't they pretty?!) and all sorts of silver components...

I really wanted to make something, but instead both containers ended up on the floor. :(

If Momma knew about this, she'd most definitely lock me out next time she makes jewelry. Don't tell her, please! I know I can trust you. Till next week!

Meow,
Ruby

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Irreplaceables - Phomollient Styling Foam by Aveda

I have used Aveda hair products for a number of years. I have a lot of hair, but it is fine. Thus, I welcome everything and anything that adds volume!

I tried out multiple products, but none worked for me as well as PhomollientTM Styling Foam; it adds the much-needed volume and shine without weighing my hair down.

It is easy to use; apply 2-3 pumps of the foam to damp hair and blow-dry using a round brush for lots of volume and movement!

Monday, October 19, 2009

jaC Procures on Etsy - Merci Cards by Pixelimpress

I've introduced you to Pam of Pixelimpress before; she custom-makes my earring cards and thank you cards. Recently I visited her shop to find a variety of new items and styles! When I saw this set of Merci postage stamp cards, I fell in love with it and purchased it immediately. It arrived a few days ago, and is absolutely perfect in every way! Can't wait to use the cards.

Check out Pam's shop for beautiful stationery, calendars, calling cards, photos and more!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Cold Remedy that Works (for me)

Regular cold medicine makes me nauseous and does not seem to help anyway. A few years ago, when I started coming down with a cold, my boss gave me Coricidin - a decongestant-free medication for people with high blood pressure. While I don't have high blood pressure, it works like a charm for me! I don't get the nausea, and actually feel better after 1-2 tablets. The only downside is that it makes me a bit drowsy, but I'm willing to put up with that!

What cold remedies work for you?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Back!

I am back from my trip! I brought back a little souvenir - a cold (not good), but I started taking medicine right away and felt better relatively fast (good) until I realized that I was taking twice as much as directed (not good).

Other than this minor nuisance, the trip was terrific! My usual shop operations have resumed, and while I don't plan to be away for a little while, I will be doing two shows in the next month. The first one is a week away (24 October), and I will be closing my shop that day. If there are one-of-a-kind items you've had your eyes on, you may want to get them before next weekend to avoid the risk of them selling at the show. If you're in the NYC area and are interested in stopping by the show, just let me know, and I'll send you the details!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday Edibles - Butternut Squash Soup

I bought a butternut squash at the farmers market last weekend, and used it to make this wonderful soup. It is one of my favorite recipes, and is perfect for this time of the year!

I modified the original recipe as described below.

Ingredients
1 small butternut squash, peeled, diced (about 5 C.)
1 medium onion, large dice (1 cup)
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 Granny Smith apples, large dice (1 cup)
48 ounces chicken broth (or boiling water and 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons parsley, fresh, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, fresh, chopped
crouton (optional)
sour cream (optional)

Preparation
1. ROASTING: preheat oven to 450. Peel and dice squash into 1/2 inch pieces (see tip at end). Dice onion into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss squash, garlic and onion with olive oil and spread pieces onto a large flat baking pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, dice the apples. After the first 10 minutes of roasting are done, add apple to squash/onion/garlic and roast everything another 15 minutes.

3. Place roasted mixture into blender with about half the chicken broth; puree. Add remaining chicken broth, half-and-half, and herbs; puree. (Note: my blender doesn't get the soup to be a smooth consistency; I use a food processor instead).

4. Transfer mixture to saucepan; reheat gently.

5. Serve with a few fresh parsley leaves, croutons and a few thinly cut apple pieces. (Sour cream is optional).

TIP: to prepare squash, first cut squash in half horizontally. Place flat end onto cutting board to stabilize squash and use a peeler to remove skin. Remove seeds. Then cut into lengths, and then into diced pieces.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Miss Momma

Momma has gone on a trip, and it has been lonely without her. I patiently wait for her all day long.


Then I look out the window to see if I can spot her coming home.

No luck so far. Papa says she will be back in just another day. I can't wait - I really miss Momma! Business trips are no fun. Maybe she can bring me with her next time!

Ruby

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Surprise from Husband

We've been together for nearly five years now, and Husband still manages to surprise me now and then.

A few weeks ago, I expressed interest in an umbrella shown here. Husband said he'd buy it for me if he sees one.

On a completely unrelated note, we discussed a need for a new mop. Ours is an old-fashioned one, and it does not dry well at all between cleanings. Besides, apparently it is the wrong kind to use for our hardwood floors.

The other night, Husband said he bought me something. Excitedly, I yelled, "An umbrella?" Silence. "A mop?!" (I have NO idea why I was so thrilled about the prospect of getting a new mop).

He came out of the living room with a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers. "Would you have preferred a mop?", he asked.

We had a good laugh about it. I'd take flowers over a mop any day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

jaC Procures on Etsy - Orange Ya Glad Earrings by DreaminofBeadin

I have known Stacy, the very talented creator of these beautiful pieces, for almost two years now. I found a link to her Etsy shop on a bead vendor's website, and decided to e-mail her to see how she liked Etsy. I didn't know much about it then and didn't know anyone who had a shop. I decided that if Stacy had a good experience on Etsy, I'd give it a try myself.

Well, not only did Stacy enthusiastically respond to my e-mail and share her experience; she also provided me with all sorts of tips and useful information! As a result, I signed up for Etsy, and the rest is history. :)

Stacy and I have remained in touch and exchange beads and other jewelry-making materials once in a while! It's a little bit like having a pen pal who sends you beads instead of letters. Once she surprised me with the beautiful smoky quartz stones I used to make these earrings. Another time, I sent her white keshi pearls she used to create these stunning earrings.

Recently I purchased these lovely Orange Ya Glad - Vintage Lucite Earrings from Stacy (pictured above). I wore them to dinner the night they arrived! The adorable lucite beads look like little pumpkins, which makes these earrings perfect for this season! Another bonus? They are weightless! Just love them and can't wait to wear them again!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Last-Minute Trip!

The day before yesterday I found out that I'm going on a business trip to a very fun destination! Actually, I don't know how fun it is as I have never been there, but I am confident it is a lovely place. :)

I will prepare daily posts for the few days that I will be gone, so feel free to visit and comment. If I am a little slow responding to your comments, you know why!

Also, my shop will remain open; you will be able to browse and purchase jewelry, but keep in mind that orders placed between Sunday, 11 October and Friday, 16 October, will ship on Saturday, 17 October.

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Kitty-Related Absurdity

A few days ago I recalled that my in-laws got a cat hammock while on vacation. I wasn't sure if I dreamt it, or if they really bought one. It just seemed so silly to buy a hammock for one's cat! Now, you know that I am a cat lover, and it takes a lot for me to call a kitty product silly. I asked Husband, and it turns out that they really did buy one! Out of all the pet products out there, I think this one takes the prize.

I Googled cat hammocks to get a visual. Here is one. Here is another (pictured). They are not cheap, either (not that a low price would justify it in my mind).

What's next - pet sunglasses?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Love Chicken!

Momma made some barbeque chicken for dinner recently.

Boy was it good!

I sure hope she made enough for her and Papa, because I took care of this piece.

Much chicken to you all,
Ruby

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

We finally made time to go to the DMV and got our NY licenses! In and out in under two hours. I guess you could hardly call it in and out, but based on the stories I've heard from other DMV visitors, our wait time was not that bad.

The new license arrived in the mail the other day, and I am relieved that the picture came out nice! The funny thing is, I used to have a NY driver license a few years back.

Monday, October 5, 2009

jaC Procures on Etsy - City Grey Canvas Messenger Bag with Yellow Lining

Husband wanted a new bag for his Birthday. We did a little window shopping online, and he decided that the man purse I mean messenger bag would come from Etsy, as it would be handmade and unique.

He picked out this attractive messenger bag in Sinem Inugur's shop. He wanted magnetic snaps instead of regular ones. I sent a note to Sinem inquiring if it was possible. The next morning, she replied that it was, and listed the bag for me just a few hours later! Another hours went by, and Sinem notified me that she had shipped the bag. How's that for customer service?

The bag arrived all the way from Istanbul on Friday, and Husband could not be more pleased. It is exactly what he wanted, and the quality and craftsmanship are top notch! He wore it the very next day, and it looks fantastic. A big thank you to Sinem for a perfect transaction! I could not have asked for better, quicker and friendlier service. Her shop is now one of my absolute favorites, and Husband is now hooked on Etsy!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Unreasonables - How Badly do you Want to Get Paid?

Before we moved, I had a doctor's appointment. On my way out, the billing person informed me that the office would bill my insurance, and send me the balance, if any. I did not get a copy of the bill - in fact, I got nothing.

Several weeks went by, and I hadn't heard from the doctor. A day before movers were supposed to come pack up our things, I called the doctor's office to inquire about any outstanding balance. It was about 4 pm, and the office was open until 5. I explained why I was calling to the lady who answered t he phone. Here is what she replied and the rest of the conversation:

- We are in the process of backing up systems; we do that every day at the end of the day. I can't get into the computer right now to see if you have a balance. Call back tomorrow.
- I am going to be moving tomorrow. Would you please have someone call me back?
- Like I said, I can't get into the system to look up your name or anything, so you will have to call back.
- I understand that, but would it be possible for you to take a pen and a piece of paper and write down my name and phone number, and have someone return my call tomorrow?
- Uh... well, I will put you through to the billing person's voice mail. You can leave her a message, and she will call you back.

The next day, I did get a call back from the billing person. She expressed her frustration that it took her a while to figure out who I was, because all she had to go on was the name, and I didn't leave an account number or a date of birth. Imagine that! I was never given an account number, but I suppose that is besides the point.

The entire experience left me shocked. There I was calling the doctor to make sure he got paid, and his staff couldn't be bothered to pick up a pen and paper and write down my contact information. Amazing!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday Receivables - Coats!


It has been chilly out this week! This post is inspired by the not-so-distant winter. A good coat is a must, especially if you want to stay warm in the cold streets of NYC! Here are my top votes.

I am in love with this classy Tahari 'Leslie' Wool Coat, $248, pictured. Just gorgeous.

I've always liked lighter coats like this DKNY Belted Wool Blend Trench Coat, $198. My only concern is, will it get dirty quickly?!

Here is something in a fun print - Via Spiga Plaid Wool Blend Trench Topper, $188. I have a long brown Via Spiga coat, and the quality is top notch.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday Edibles - Shrimp Bisque!

If you remember, I made lobster bisque for the first time a few weeks ago. It turned out just OK. I thought I'd buy fresh shrimp in Chinatown and try making shrimp bisque. It was a success! It tasted much, much better than lobster bisque; I will definitely use this recipe again! Here it is (from allrecipes.com - modified as noted below).

Ingredients
3/4 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 quarts seafood stock (I used 3 quarts boiled water + 2 cubes chicken bouillon instead)
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds medium shrimp - peeled, deveined and shells reserved
3/4 pound onions, minced
1/4 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons paprika
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 fluid ounces brandy
1 quart heavy cream, heated
3 dashes hot pepper sauce
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning TM
1/2 cup dry sherry

Preparation
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 3/4 cup butter and slowly stir in flour. Cook, stirring, until flour taste disappears, about 7 minutes. Stir in seafood (or boiling water and 2 chicken bouillon cubes) stock and season with salt and pepper. Simmer 15 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook shrimp shells and onion in 1/4 cup butter until onion is translucent. Stir in garlic, paprika and tomato paste and cook until brown. Stir in brandy and light it on fire. Let it simmer until reduced and thickened. Stir in reserved stock, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh or cheesecloth.

3. Return strained mixture to a simmer in the saucepan. Pour in cream.

4. Dice shrimp and cook until opaque in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir into soup and simmer 5 minutes. Season with pepper sauce, Worcestershire and Old Bay. Stir in sherry just before serving.