Monday, August 31, 2009

Here they come now Chelsea Girls

So let's start with a place to stay.

Alex and I have been going to NYC together now for quite a few years now and every year we've stayed at the Chelsea Star Hotel. Located at W30th and 8th, the Star is smack dab in the center of midtown, close to Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building. It's a great place to stay for those traveling to New York by train or bus because it's an easy walk even with big suitcases. We usually drive and almost always find street parking which is a huge plus.

The Star is half hostel, half hotel, and offers something of everyone. It's a super budget no frills hotel, so if you are expecting amenities, this is not the place for you. However, it is a clean, safe, and somewhat comfortable place to say in the city. They have many different types of rooms and we've stayed in almost all of them, including their 2 bedroom apartments which sleeps at least four. We haven't had a chance to stay in any of their themed rooms yet, but they only come with a shared bathroom, which is not something I'm curious about at all.

All and all the Star is a great, cheap, easy place to stay. Especially if you are not planning to spend all that much time in your hotel room.

Right through the very heart of it New York, New York

So I have decided that this week is going to be New York City week on my little blog. Alex and I visited this past weekend and as always, we had a grand old time in the city that never sleeps.

Alex doesn't see the magic in New York City, but I happen to love it. I'm not sure I'd want to live there, but visiting is always an adventure. Plus, now when we visit, we get to see Joe and Hillary who recently moved to Brooklyn.

NYC has lots of great neighborhoods, parks, restaurants, bars, people, bands, and shopping. We have our favorites, but every time we visit we find new places and things that we love. So if you are planning a trip any time soon or just interested in seeing me try an egg cream. Stay tuned this week!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Higher Standards. Yea. Okay.

Bank of America is kind of a jerk.

About 2 months ago, I decided to open a checking account at BOA because Alex and I picked BOA for our joint accounts. I loved Citizens Bank and I was sad to go, but BOA just made more sense. It's a national bank. Alex has never had any problems with them. Their website is pretty good. We thought, this should be easy. We were wrong

I have had problems every step of the way. From them misspelling my name, twice, to at one point having a different address attached to each account. They've sent me 3 pin numbers and 3 check cards, which to date I've only received 1 card and no pin numbers. I've been on hold at least 3 times for more than 45 minutes and I've been disconnected twice. I've talked to about 20 different people and while most of them have been nice, almost all of them have been completely incompetent.

It's been a bit of a nightmare. So I wrote a letter, cause what else can you do, and of course, no one at BOA cares cause I haven't gotten any response and they still continue to treat me like crap.

But just for the record, BOA, you can go F yourself.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Are you ready for the summer?

Meatballs are great.

I hardly ever make them, but when I do, they are always a crowd-pleaser. They are fun to make because you get to use your hands. They are also extremely hard to mess up, so they are a fantastic no-fail dinner. Especially when you are having company.

Last week, Alex and I had my parents over for dinner to talk wedding. It was really fun to cook for them, although it felt very adult. I'm glad that the spaghetti and meatballs were a hit! I'm not sure where I got this recipe for meatballs or if I just made it up based on many different online searches, but they are delicious!

Really Good Meatballs
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup water (more or less)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients
  2. Shape into golf ball size meat balls
  3. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes
  4. In a sauce pan combine pasta sauce and meat balls and heat on medium heat for 5 minutes stirring occasionally
  5. Serve over fresh pasta

Monday, August 17, 2009

Blondes have more fun

Hello everyone out there! I'm sorry for my unannounced brief blog hiatus. My life has been taken over by the move, visiting family, work, and wedding stuff, which I promise not to bore you with.

I just got back from a trip to visit my grandmother in Pennsylvania with my sister and my nephew. We had a great time not doing a whole lot. We basically sat around, ate my grandmother's cooking, and watched cartoons for five days straight. I did spend one day writing down a bunch of my grandmother's old recipes, which I'm going to be sharing over the coming weeks. Many of which will highlight the disgustingly, delicious, down-home cooking that you find in Western Pennsylvania (anyone ever heard of Twinkie Cake?)

Anyways, hopefully this super delicious recipe for blondies from Garrett McCord at Simply Recipes will make up for my absence. These came out so freakin good, super chewy and delicious!

Blondies (by Garrett McCord from Simply Recipes)
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted
  • 1 cup of tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup of butterscotch chips (this was not enough for me. I used about 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips and 1/2 cup white chocolate chips instead)
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly butter and flour an 8X8 pan. (I just did a quick spray with cooking spray)
  3. Whisk together the melted butter and sugar in a bowl.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk.
  5. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, mix it all together.
  6. Add the butterscotch chips or other mix-ins.
  7. Pour into the pan and spread evenly.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (mine took about 30 minutes)
  9. Allow to cool.
  10. Cut into squares and serve.








Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thank you for being a friend

Alex and I are very lucky people. We have a wonderful group of family and friends in our life.

Over the weekend we moved in to our new apartment. We were so lucky to have the help of my mom and dad, my brother Ryan, and our friends Joe and Hillary. We could not have done it without them. Saturday night our friends and new neighbors Emily and Christopher came over for a welcome to the neighborhood drink on our roof deck. Then, Tuesday my mom, sister, and nephew came to the city spent the day with me hanging out and settling in to our new pad.

We also got some pretty awesome house warming presents. My sister made us a beautiful blanket that I can't wait to snuggle up with this winter; my mom got us two fiestaware place settings and a really cool fiestaware milk pitcher; and our friend Allie got us the most creative present: a flower pot full of sticky stuff because Alex and I are stickin' together! Everything is going to come in super handy with all of our crafty projects!

We really are really lucky to have such cool and amazing friends and family!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Adjust my friend

One of the charming, and some times challenging, features of our new apartment is that we have quite a few slanted ceilings. It makes our apartment very cozy and cute, but I'm sure it will require me to customize a few items necessary to apartment living.

The first challenge that we had to undertake was redesigning our shower curtain to hang in our trapezoidal shaped shower. Alex came up with the plans, while I manned the sewing machine, hemming and shaping our shower curtain into two pieces: a stationary panel and a doorway panel.

Modified Shower Curtain
  • 1 Apt 9 shower curtain
  • Coordinating thread
  • Washable marker
Directions
  • Starting with the doorway panel, I used a washable marker to mark where the shower curtain needed to be hemmed. Next, I marked the end of the doorway panel.
  • Using the geometric pattern, I cut straight across the bottom of the shower curtain 1/2 inch below where I marked the hem. Next I cut the shower curtain 1/2 inch to the right of where I marked the end of the doorway panel.
  • Then I hemmed these two pieces by folding them over 1/4 inch and then 1/4 inch again, pinning, and sewing.
  • Next, I moved on to the stationary panel! I started by hanging one end of the stationary panel to the shower curtain rod and gauged how the top of the panel would need to be adjusted for the slant. I marked this with a fabric marker.
  • I took down the stationary panel and laid it flat on the floor. Using my ruler and fabric marker I measured 2 inches up from my mark and 2 inches over from the edge of the curtain that would touch the doorway panel.
  • Using a ruler, I drew a straight line from these new marks and cut along this slant.
  • Then I hemmed the top by folding over 1 inch and 1 inch again.
  • I also hemmed the bottom of this the same as the bottom of the doorway panel.
  • Lastly, I checked the placement of the shower curtain hook button holes on the doorway panel. The original design had placed the holes every 6 inches. I matched this by creating button holes in the newly sewn seam every 6 inches.
  • Once I was done, I hung up my masterpiece and took a shower!