Tuesday, April 30, 2013

jamaican me be in the moment

Recently I was invited to Jamaica by my friend Blair and her beautiful family. They were celebrating a big birthday. Blair’s friends were invited to share in the celebration, which gave us all a rare occasion to be together in a gorgeous setting, with luxurious accommodations and delicious food. It was absolutely lovely. And that’s a gross understatement.

My favorite part of the vacation – a close second to trying paddle boarding and falling in love with the “sport” J  – was having true quality time with my friends. When we weren’t at the beach doing water sports, wading in the bathtub ocean or lounging by the sea, we were at our villa laying in and around the pool, or sitting together for meals. It was decadent.

I savored being disconnected from technology. Besides streaming Spotify for background music, we were rarely plugged in. We didn’t even have cell service; my only communication with my fiance was FaceTime via Wi-Fi, which was only available in one common room. And while I missed having private conversations with Justin, I sure didn’t miss being on my phone. Mealtimes were especially special because our group sat together and conversed with each other, not with people on the other end of our text messages.

But of course we don’t need an extravagant getaway to take a vacation from our phones. We can just follow some rules:) 


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Poor Man’s Lobster Roll

Today I’m delighted to be featuring another guest post by Brian. It’s a real *treat* :)


Poor Man’s Lobster Roll

Yesterday (a BEAUTIFUL crisp spring day), Benjamin and I had lunch at the Shake Shack on the Upper West Side followed by a visit to the Natural History Museum.  In the bright warmth of the sun we took off our sweaters and enjoyed our fast-food lunch on the benches outside of the museum, and I was for the sixth or seventh time in my life blown away by the meal.  For those of you in New York City who have never been to the Shake Shack… GO.  Seriously, don’t think about the calories or whatever, just go.  It’s so good.  It’s really just SO good, and totally lives up to the hype.  Not only is everything delicious, it’s so CUTE.  Even if you order it to go, when you open the bag everything is placed just so;  the burger sits happily in its little paper sleeve with perfectly sliced, juicy, red tomato rounds and a velvety, unblemished butter-lettuce leaf, sandwiched between soft, eggy brioche buns… Seriously so cute, the burgers look like they were manufactured by Fisher-Price.  And the crinkle cut fries are so PERFECTLY and EVENLY golden… ghalalalalahhhh, my mouth is watering thinking about it.  This particular time around I went for the Portobello mushroom burger, which I had never had before (I usually go the carnivore route).  When you go, GET IT, it’s a MUST.  I mean, a big mushroom stuffed with oozing Muenster cheese, breaded and fried?  Please, the beef don’t stand a CHANCE against this one.

Needless to say I was still fantasizing and romanticizing our Shake-Shack-lunch-on-the-sunny-bench-in-front-of-the-Natural-History-Museum when it came time to have dinner…  Wanting another go at a meal that included a soft bun encasing something outrageously delicious, I found myself reaching towards lobster rolls.  A lobster roll would be close-enough-slash-far-away-enough from a Portobello mushroom burger that it would be just the ticket.  Of course lobster is A BILLION dollars a pound, and a hassle, so I decided to substitute shrimp.  With just the idea in my head I stopped into Citarella on 6th Avenue and 10th Street to purchase just enough ingredients to feed me, Benjamin and my brother for about $26.  Is that expensive?  I have no idea.  I felt like we were saving?  But honestly I have no concept of money.  I don’t understand it and am helpless when it comes to budgets.  But whatever the price, they were worth it!  Scrumptious and fantastic, here’s how I made them…  But a note!… I am by no means a professional recipe writer, and since I just “wung it” when preparing these I can’t be sure of exact amounts, but I think this is close enough if you want to try!!

For the days when you a want a fresh and fast seafood treat without breaking the bank, consider making these delicious shrimp rolls!  This recipe feeds TWO, but is easily adjusted to feed more.  Figure 1/2 pound (or 1/3 pound if you’re feeling stingy) medium shrimp per person, and adjust the rest to taste.

1 Pound Peeled Medium Shrimp, Deveined 
(If you care?  I don’t really care but Benjamin doesn’t like the idea of shrimp poop in his food, so I put him to the tedious task… TIP: Use a toothpick to pull out the vein after the shrimp is peeled, inserting the toothpick into the middle of the shrimp’s back just deep enough to pull the vein out with minimal damage to the shrimp.  The vein will stick to the toothpick so keep a tiny bowl of water handy, when you dip the toothpick into the water the vein will slide off, and your toothpick will be clean for the next shrimp to devein.)
Coconut Oil, or other high-heat oil

Season the cleaned shrimp liberally with salt and pepper.  Place cast-iron skillet (or other heavy-bottomed skillet) on medium-high to high heat for 1 to 2 minutes until very hot.  Add a Tblsp. or two of coconut oil.  Add shrimp in batches if necessary, placing them at least an inch apart.  Cook for 30-45 seconds on each side or until JUST cooked through.  No need to overcook your shrimp, they’ll be dry and rubbery!!  You want (or at least I want) them to perfectly and juicily pop between your teeth upon consumption!
Set shrimp aside to cool.

1 Egg Yolk 
(P.S. Use Pasteurized Eggs if Raw Egg is of concern!) (P.P.S. I am not responsible if you get sick from handling raw food.) (P.P.P.S. Chances of you getting sick from a raw egg are like SUPER slim.)  (P.P.P.P.S. I guess it’s still a possibility though, and you’ve been warned, so seriously don’t sue me if something goes wrong for you.)
1 Tsp. Mustard
Canola Oil
Olive Oil

In a medium bowl whisk egg yolk and mustard vigorously until light in color.  Add LITCHRALLY two drops of canola oil and beat vigorously with whisk.  Add LITCHRALLY two more drops of oil.  Beat vigorously.  Then, in a SLOW, STEADY, ULTRA-THIN stream add canola oil while whisking VIGOROUSLY.  I suggest doing this with a friend as one of you can whisk and one of you can pour the oil… and this way when your hand feels like it’s going to break and fall off from whisking you can trade jobs.  Once you have about half a cup of mayonnaise switch to olive oil to give it a richer flavor (you can use ALL olive oil if you want, but for me I find it just a little heavy tasting).  You probably won’t use all the mayonnaise for your preparation, and any leftover can be stored in the fridge but should be used within the next day or two?)

IF YOUR MAYONNAISE DOESN’T COME TOGETHER (usually because you didn’t get enough of an emulsion at the outset when you first added the initial drops of oil) OR if you don’t want to bother, just use store bought.  Seriously, your audience probably won’t know the difference anyway.

Two Hot Dog Rolls Per Person, Toasted 
(Or not toasted, whatever/You could take it further and butter the toasted rolls as well!!)
Sauteed Shrimps, cut into 3rds after cooled (Save any juices!!!)
1/4-1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1-2 Tsp. Lemon Juice
Small Palm-full Chopped Tarragon and Chives
Large Palm-full Finely Diced Celery
Salt and Pepper

Mix Shrimp and any reserved juices with mayonnaise and lemon juice.  Add celery and chopped herbs, mix well.  Taste.  Season with salt and pepper if needed (Hint… it will probably need I don’t know 1/8-1/4 tsp. salt at least? Whatever, make it as salty or not as you like!).  Scoop into toasted (or not) and buttered (or not) rolls and serve with something crispy and fresh like a Caesar Salad.  Enjoy!!! (or not) :)


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My Louis and Me

For the most part, this blog does not focus on fashion. I appreciate good style but by no means am I a “fashionista.” I’m more excited about finding the perfect throw for our apartment than finding the perfect graphic black & white ensemble for spring. (In fact, I just looked up current fashion trends on InStyle.com, to confirm that B&W is in.)
That being said, I like to think I have good taste J My mother says I dress like my late Grandmother Elly. I take that as a compliment, even though my mom really does think I dress like a grandma. Long gone are my college days of wearing barely there spandex halter tops. Now I dress strictly for comfort, with the occasional (i.e. when attending a wedding) night out teetering on stilettos.
But whereas in the past dressing for nights out meant trying really hard, these days I just aim to look put-together. Sometimes that means I dress in head to toe preppy; on other occasions I look more bohemian. And most days I just wear jeans and a tee or long-sleeved variation. (Really it just depends on which items of clothing are currently clean.)
My coworkers sum up my style as Californian, which I take to mean no-frills. I mix high-end items with cheaper pieces. Occasionally I’ll wear a statement accessory or a couple of delicate necklaces, but I’m not big on big-time accessorizing. I believe in investing in a few key items I’ll have forever, for example a Vince leather jacket I’ve had for over ten years, a handful of fancy blouses my friends must be so sick of seeing me in throughout the past decade and designer handbags.
Enter: Louis. But first, there was Coach. And then Kate Spade. And Prada. And now, Louis Vuitton. Throughout my late teenage years and early adulthood, I’ve taken to brand-name handbags and totes. The right ones never go out of style. And they dress up any jeans and t-shirt ensemble.

Recently I had an internal conflict regarding my Louis Vuitton “Neverfull” bag. The LV Neverfull is a really expensive handbag I bought a few years back, when I was in a more lucrative but less fulfilling job. I had recently been promoted. And I wanted to upgrade from my fading brown woven leather Banana Republic “work bag” which mimicked the Bottega Veneta style. I wanted a real-deal classic designer tote for both business and pleasure. And I gave myself that gift.
Then, my circumstances changed. I went from magazine marketer to fashion house social media manager to SAHG to yoga instructor and yoga advisor. And here’s the rub. Yogis don’t carry LV carryalls. Yogis don’t advertise brand name monograms or signature prints. It’s an unspoken rule. My fellow yoga professionals all tote around no-name leather satchels and the like. And I had wanted to fit in. So during my yoga teacher training and throughout my first months working as a yoga advisor I left the LV at home. I didn’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention. I didn’t want to be that girl.
Then recently, it hit me. Who cares? Anyone – especially a fellow yogi – who judges me for sporting an LV bag has her own bag of problems. Yoga is all about non-judgment, until it comes to investing in designer fashion accessories it seems. Well I’m here to break the mold. There should be no mold. And if there is, I’m fine not fitting into it.
[Me & My Louis Neverfull]
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