Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine's Giveaway!

It's about time we had another giveaway, isn't it?  One lucky winner will get this beautiful White Lily Lariat - Sterling Silver, Biwa Stick Pearl, Swarovski Crystal and Rice Pearl Lariat (retail value $55)!
This romantic piece is about 36" long and can be worn long or short, as shown here.

To enter the giveaway:

1. Leave a comment in this post - as simple as that!

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. The giveaway will be open until February 14, 2011; the winner will be announced on February 15. One entry per person please. It is open to all readers. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Playing Dress Up

Hello all!

Back in the good old pre-Erica days, Momma bought me a hat.  She thought it would be fun to dress me up.  I disagreed.  The Pumpkin and Santa outfits were enough public humiliation!  The hat just sat there unused, which was a shame, really.

One day, when Momma went to work, I thought: I could have some fun with this hat.  To say that I had fun would be an understatement!

It's just a little payback to Mouse for eating my food, sleeping in my spot, and being a nuisance in general...


Monday, January 24, 2011


I took this photograph the day after the big snow storm at Christmas time this year.

Then I played a little with it in Photoshop Elements.  Love the results!  Click on the picture below to see the effects a bit better.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Insane, Really

I have a new orchid! I am really enjoying these gorgeous blooms.

Once they are done blossoming, I am going to cut the stem off. Then I am going to water the orchid weekly and wait.

And wait some more for it to produce another stem with blooms.

And wait and wait and wait. And the blooms will never come.

Just like they haven't come the previous five times I bought orchids.

Repeating the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome - isn't that the definition of insanity?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Central Park in the Snow

Central Park after the snow fall is magical! You have to get there early enough while the snow is still mostly intact.

Did you see the squirrel in the photo second to last?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday Edibles - Creamed Spinach

Today's recipe is a variation of a traditional creamed spinach recipe.  The difference is that usually recipes call for frozen spinach; I however have always used fresh spinach, and the texture and taste are quite different.

Servings: 4
1 lb fresh spinach (or baby spinach)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the spinach and cook until almost wilted and reduced in volume.  Transfer the spinach to a strainer and squeeze it to get rid of the liquid.  Set aside.

2.  Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute.  Remove from heat and gradually stir in milk.  Return to medium heat and simmer, whisking, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

3.  Stir in the spinach, 1/8 cup water, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, lemon zest and nutmeg and cook for a few minutes, until the sauce thickens and the spinach is tenter.  Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's for Dinner?





Tabasco?!  Doesn't look promising...


Monday, January 10, 2011

You've Got Mail!

Recently I went through my Inbox and realized that I get SO many automated messages I don't even read.  Here are the top e-mails that meet their unfortunate fate of going from my Inbox to Trash unopened:
  • US Airways e-Savers, AA Net Saaver Fares, and so on: I don't even fly that much anymore, and if I do, it's never last-minute.  When Husband was just Boyfriend and was all over the country while in the military, we would travel to see each other often.  That's when we took advantage of these deals.  But that was five years ago.  These days I will occasionally look through an e-saver just to see where the flights are going, decide that they are going to uber-boring and unexciting places, and be done with them.  Most of the time, I just delete them without reading.
  • Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor LOFT e-mails:  There was a time when 90+% of my work clothes came from Ann Taylor and LOFT.  This time was six+ years ago.  I can't even remember the last time I looked at one of these e-mails. 
  • I still shop with Amazon.  In fact, last time I was buying something from there, I noticed that over time they have shipped my packages to eight addresses.  How often do I read e-mails Amazon sends? Never not once.  I can't even tell you what is in them.
 I think it's time I unsubscribed, don't you?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Wearables - New Cancer Awareness/Charity Colors!

A couple of months ago, you gave me some great suggestions for adding new awareness colors to the Cancer Awareness/Charity section of my shop.  I have added two new bracelets so far - green and purple!

Big Dave's Big Gift Bracelet - Green Pearl and Sterling Silver Ribbon Kidney or Leukemia Cancer Awareness Bracelet, $30

Big Dave's Big Gift Bracelet - Deep Purple Pearl and Sterling Silver Ribbon Pancreatic or Thyroid Cancer Awareness Bracelet, $30

 On a related note, I just donated the proceeds of 18 awareness bracelets (all sold in 2010) to the David Turner Lymphoma Foundation!  My goal is to sell 50 bracelets in 2011.  I think we can do it.  Please help spread the word by sharing David's story through these bracelets!  Thank you.

Stay tuned - another beautiful bracelet design that will allow you to combine several awareness colors in one bracelet is in the works!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday Edibles - Deviled Eggs

I love deviled eggs, but made them for the first time only recently.  They are so easy to make - I don't know why I waited so long!

6 hard boiled eggs, as many as desired
1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise 
Yellow mustard to taste
Cooked bacon strips, cut into small bits (1strip is sufficient for six eggs) and split the bits in half
Sweet relish to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika for garnishing (optional)

1.  Cut eggs in half lengthwise.  Remove yolks and place them in a bowl.  Set the whites aside.

2.  Combine the mayonnaise and yolks in a bowl and mash them together until they reach a smooth consistency.

3.  Add a small amount of yellow mustard to the yolks and mix well.  You don't need a lot of mustard.  Start by adding a little bit, and add more to taste if needed.  I used about a third of a tea spoon for six eggs.

4.  Add a small amount of sweet relish, salt, pepper and half of the bacon bits to the yolks and mustard.  Mix well.

5.  Fill the halved egg whites with the yolk mixture.  An easy way to do it is to place the yolk mixture into a small Ziploc bag, cut a corner and squeeze the mixture into each halved egg white.

6.  Sprinkle with remaining bacon bits and paprika.  Refrigerate before serving.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Almost Friends

Look, everybody!

Mouse and I are almost friends.

But not really.  She still gets the HISS once in a while.

I much preferred the times when there was no Mouse in my house...


Monday, January 3, 2011

Book Recommendation: The Invisible Bridge

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer is an amazing story about love, family, the horrors of war, hope, life and death.  You will cry more than you will laugh, but you will be captivated by the story and its characters.  She writes beautifully and realistically; her descriptions are so vivid you will feel as if you were there, and at times you will forget it is a novel.

This is Julie Orringer's first novel; I am anxiously awaiting her next.  She is an incredible and talented writer.  I have ordered her collection of short stories, How to Breathe Underwater.  Can't wait to read it!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas in the City - Part 2

Happy New Year!

Here is Part 1 if you missed it.  We continued our Christmas Day walk around Manhattan by heading to the beautiful Pierpont Morgran Library and Museum, located just a few blocks away from Lord & Taylor.

Then at night, I thought it would be fun to go see The Tree by the Rockefeller Center.  I figured it wouldn't be crowded at all.  Well, I was wrong!  There were literally thousands of people - a mix of people from all over the world!  I heard four languages I recognized, and ten I didn't.  All restaurants in the vicinity were open and full of people dining, drinking and Celebrating Christmas.  Husband was in a rush to escape the crowds; I ended up with only one semi-clear photo of the tree. :)