May 31, 2008

Time To Break Out the Boas!

My father never understood the concept of saving the good china for a fancy holiday. He felt that one should enjoy china on a daily basis. So, he bought my mother a second set of china, and every day was china special.

My father's wisdom was not wasted on me, and, as such, I always celebrate each new day (and every moment) as if it was a special occasion. Between this adopted philosophy and my unending urge to party plan when ever possible, I will never hesitate to go all out when planning any event, small or large.

Tonight, was (in my book) a very special night indeed. Sex & the City, the Movie, was finally hitting the big screen, and therefore, it was time for a girls' night out! Time to break out the Cosmos and Manolos and have a good time with great friends!!
. . . And so the planning began. After a day full of errands, I set to decorate our apartment--to give it a "Sex & the City" feel. As my husband watched me slowly tackle the task at hand, he tried to restrain his confusion. Then, right as I was standing on a stepladder attempting to hang boas from the chandelier, he cracked: "What are you doing, you guys are just going out to a movie?"

Umm...this was not just any movie, and more importantly, it was a rare treat to hang out with some of the most fabulous friends a girl could ask for--and as such, no-brainer, a special occasion. And besides, I had an urge to decorate, and once that urge is born there is just no stopping me (and if you need further confirmation of this fact, check out what I did for a dinner for 6 on New Years):

Rather than use our full bar, I set up a martini making station. The girls had a choice of: apple, pomegranate, mango...and of course, cosmos.

I hung black and pink feathered boas (that I picked up at Joann Fabric at the last minute) from the chandelier.

Blessed with a loving husband whose only fault is that he can't help but break any glass he touches, I needed to restock our martini glasses for the event. Luckily, I found the Viv Martini Glass at Crate & Barrel. Hard to break (trust me, my husband tried), and only $4.95 per glass; it was a real steal!

The above arrangement was the result of a last minute decision to hide a flaw. Our side table had some pretty bad scratches on it, so I laid down some pink pre-cut sheets of felt that I picked up at Joann Fabric, and placed a vase on top of the spot where the four pieces met. I then filled the vase with a black and pink boa (also from Joann's).

The spread included an assortment of desserts (all courtesy of Trader Joes, of course). Our coffee table also had some scratches on it, so felt squares were strategically placed, and a boa added the final touch.

And while the cosmos were a huge hit, the apple martinis were a'flowin'. My secret tip: adding pineapple juice into the mix (takes away the sour aftertaste).

The best part of the night, however, was at the end of the night when my husband went out of his way to let me know he was proud of my creative use of boas. He really knows how to make a gal feel loved :)

And if you're wondering...yes, the movie was fabulous!!!

May 30, 2008

Do Rude People Grow On Trees?

I must say that it may just be a side effect of my chosen career path, or the city I call home, but I tend to meet a lot of rude people. What's worse, lately, I have been meeting a lot of passive aggressive rude people--which oddly, is worse.

I've decided that since life is all about perspective; when I have an encounter with a passive aggressive rudey, I will choose to be amused instead of being offended. In that spirit, I would like to share the following amusing back-handed compliment I received the other day (to understand the full context, please note that I was wearing adorable round-toed high heels):

Rude person: Wow, I really like your shoes!
Me: Tha--
Rude person: --I mean, I know that round-toed shoes have been out of style for a really long time, but I really wish they would come back in style.

( does one respond to a passive aggressive rudey?)

In my defense, later in the conversation she revealed that she hates peep-toe shoes, so clearly, her opinion doesn't matter.

May 28, 2008

Buyer Beware: Lessons Learned From Browsing the Home Section

I'm pretty sure that writing housing descriptions for houses on the market requires an optimistic personality.

Looking for a home has been an exhausting and sometimes frustrating experience, but I have learned a few lessons along the way:
  1. Cozy means small

  2. Charming means small

  3. Great Neighborhood means horrible house that doesn't compare at all to the others on the block.

  4. Fixer upper means bottomless moneysucking pit

  5. Move in ready means fixer upper

  6. Reduced means either one of two things (1) this house can't sell; or (2) liars!

  7. [name of city]-adjacent means horrible area

  8. No pictures provided of kitchen or bathrooms, means that's the deal breaker

  9. People who use the word "gorgeous" don't have good taste.

  10. In the 600s, 700s, 800s, etc. means 699, 799, 899, respectively.

  11. Everyone secretly thinks they are an entertainer when they are shopping for a house, and the sellers know this (hence the entertainer's backyards and the entertainer's kitchens - although I've never seen an entertainer's kitchen); however, the seller's version of entertaining is not often the same as mine.

May 27, 2008

Minty Fresh Calla Lilies?

It turns out that calla lilies don't enjoy mouthwash, or at least, they don't enjoy my husband's new mouthwash.

Before you jump to conclusions and think I must be conversing with flowers, let me elaborate:

Every time I buy flowers from this particular stand in the farmer's market by my office, I walk away, not only with flowers to arrange, but also with a free tip. It's true that most of the tips are not always practicable (e.g., sautéing the end of the hydrangea stem to seal in the juices; or if the hydrangeas start to go limp, drowning them in a bucket of water so they come back to life; etc.). Regardless, I always politely thank the flower guy for sharing his wisdom (though I never actually test the theories).

This week, however, was different, because this week, I was intrigued. After hesitating that they might be a bit too pricey for farmer's market standards, I decided to splurge and buy these gorgeous calla lilies:
As I handed over the cash, the flower guy leaned over to share his tip of the week with me, but this time, he started by saying that he doesn't share this particular tip with everyone (perhaps I was special...or perhaps only those that buy the overpriced flowers receive the tip).

Then, the tip followed, as he whispered to me that: the secret to keeping calla lilies fresh is mouthwash (something about killing bacteria on the flowers). He told me to just put these beauties in an inch and a half of water + mouth wash, change the water every 2 days and cut the stems every 5 days, the result: flowers that last for a whole 2 weeks.

I sat all day in my office staring at the callas in the corner, and counting down the hours until I could rush home and test his theory. Finally, the work day was done, and it was time. As soon as I walked in the door, I headed straight for my husband's new mouthwash, then grabbed a simple vase, and set out at arranging.

My husband stared as he saw me pour a splash of his mouthwash into the vase, and he even questioned whether I was feeling alright. I explained the top secret tip I had received, and reasoned "besides, what could mouthwash really do to flowers; I mean we put it in our mouths every day?"

Two days later, I stuck to the plan, and proudly switched the water and added another splash of mouthwash. So far, a complete success.

Then, sadly, I came home two days later to switch the water (yes, count that, four days after my purchase), and my callas were gone--they just disappeared. It turns out my husband found them sad and wilty, and decided to spare me from the pain. Unfortunately, I have no evidence to show you (or the flower guy) of the effects of mouthwash on calla lilies, but...alas...I will always have these pictures to remember how they once were minty fresh!

However, I must share this one caveat. Before jumping to conclusions that the flower guy makes up his tips figuring no one will ever bother to follow them, or that one should beware of unsolicited tips from the farmer's market flower guy, I feel I must disclose the following information that I just learned: Right before I sat down to write this post, someone informed me that their dentist told them that the brand of mouthwash my husband has been using has been known to turn teeth brown.

So, if I can brave it, I may have to try this again with a different brand, or at the very least, we will be switching mouthwash brands.

May 25, 2008

You May Be Seated

One of the most torturous events of planning a wedding, bar or bat mitzvah or any other large scale event is the dreaded seating chart. Keeping certain people a part, making sure others sit together can be a stressful undertaking. Not to mention, some guests may be "offended" by the location of their table (although this is up for debate, as my mom would argue the tables closest to the band and the tables closest to the back (by the bar) are the worst tables, but arguably these are the best!)

Luckily, this task can be simplified by letting software do all the work for you! Check out this amazing program that Mitzvah-licious found.

May 21, 2008

Tales from LA Grocery Stores

I've never been one for celebrity sightings. I wouldn't recognize Julia Roberts if she slapped me in the face. That said, my hubby is a master celebrity sighter. He can recognize anyone who's ever been in anything--even the biggest flop (yet another example of how we each make up for each other's weaknesses). Tonight, after he told me a story about his most recent celebrity sighting, I noticed an interesting dichotomy between Ralphs and Whole Foods:

A month ago, while my husband was shopping at Ralphs, in the corner of his eye he saw a hoard of people rushing down the aisle will flashing light bulbs. Chaos. It turned out Britney Spears was shopping inside, and she was being chased down by the paparazzi. Ergo, Ralphs does not equal safe haven for celebrities.

Contrast the foregoing experience with the following: my hubby saw Sheila from Big Brother fame at Whole Foods. Not one person bothered her as she loaded her cart and headed to pay for her groceries. Not one light bulb. Whole Foods is truly a sanctuary for the celebrity as not one annoying person swarmed her. Why is this so? Could it be that Whole Food shoppers don't care about celebrity? Is reality TV dying?

Or is the more important question, why was Britney Spears shopping at Ralphs and Sheila shopping at Whole Foods?

David Announced as Winner, but DVR Wouldn't Tell Me Which One

I take my duty as an American Idol voter very seriously. And so after voting several times (ok, a bit more than several) for David Cook, I eagerly was awaiting tonight's results episode. And then, this happened:

I didn't have a video camera on hand, but lucky for me (and you) a youtube user out there suffered from the same catastrophe (although his stemmed from a Tivo). The sad thing is that we normally record the show that follows American Idol for just this reason, but tonight...not so. Luckily enough yet another youtube user saved the day by posting a video containing the full results. What did we do before we had Internet?

Pathetic Chocolate

In a moment of weakness, I wasted time on the Internet tonight trying to find out if it was possible for people to actually find my blog, or if I was destined to be its only visitor.

In researching how one might draw readership to a blog, I came across all kinds of interesting tips, although often contradictory. I was just about to give up when I found Wordtracker, a website that has a free keyword suggestion tool. The site helps you increase your search optimization by helping you identify common search terms relating to a particular topic, so that you can find a way to organically integrate said term to boost your searchability on Google. I am not sure whether I am that dedicated (or together), but, who knows it might be a useful resource one day (and besides it seems to like chocolate).

Regardless of whether I will ever use said tool for useful purposes, I was entertained by the following statistics:

  • The best keyword for the topic of "stiletto" is not "stiletto lawyer." In fact it is "stilettos." Although surprisingly "climbing mountains in stilettos" fell within he top 10.

  • A lot of people search for the word "lawyer" on it's own. More people search for "personal injury lawyer" than "criminal lawyer." The next most sought after lawyer on Google is "divorce lawyer." I am none of these. Although, I do find it interesting that more people search for "lawyer jokes" than a "divorce lawyer."

  • The number one search involving the term "doctor" (which came in fifth place) interestingly enough has nothing to do with locating one. Believe it or not, it's "doctors excuses." "Printable doctors excuse" came in second, with "Doctor excuse" (singular) trailing in at forth. Guess that is one hot topic I will have to consider writing about. Also intriguing, more people search for a love doctor, sex doctor or a which doctor than an actual PHD certified doctor. Of the PHD breed, the clear leader is a "doctor gyno."

  • If you look for a keyword suggestion for the word "blog" number three on the list (behind the obvious "blog" and "blogs" search), is "pregnancy countdown for myspace blog." Enlightening, no?

  • And on a topic I have recently written about (for which I could have used the wisdom of the keyword finder): the number one keyword suggestion for the topic of "gas" (with or without using the website's offensive entry filter) is "gas prices." So the bottom line is, I might have to edit this previous post to include several references to the phrase...but that will have to wait until I write a legitimate post about chocolate.

May 20, 2008

Put Your Money Where Your Politics Are

Leave it to the Internet. Now adays you can bet on just about anything, including: who will be the next US president, when the recession will hit and when mad cow disease will hit the US, and you don't have to head to the Vegas strip. From the comfort of your home, you can head to this site for a wide array of choice investments. Instead of placing actual bets, you purchase shares in the outcome you think is more likely to occur, and you can sell your share at any point and make money on your investment.

For those interested in the presidential candidates: currently, Obama comes at a price of $92.80 per share; but Hillary is a steal at $6.20 per share.

High Definition

The world as I know it has just changed. I got a flier in the mail today from our local monopoly cable company that it is about to add new HD channels. Among the new line up: Food Network. My dreams have just come true!

Mommy Would Be Proud (Warning: Very Disturbing Images Ahead)

My mother may sometimes have her opinions about my choices, but the one thing my mother never had to worry about was me ever getting a tattoo. True, it was mostly because I don't really understand why someone would voluntarily choose to be poked by a needle (and pay a fortune for it to boot), but in the end it really came down to one simple fact: I am indecisive--in manic proportions. I go in and out of phases quicker than tmz can blog about Britney Spears' latest mishap, so I just couldn't make the commitment.

Though I am thankful that I don't have a butterfly tattoo on my ankle (I went through a butterfly phase in the late nineties), it turns out it could have been worse. I couldn't believe my eyes (nor could I understand what this guy was thinking) when I stumbled upon this beauty that Mighty Girl discovered and posted on her blog:

It turns out, that this cat-astrophe is not in a league of it's own (oh how my mother would be proud of the google image searching skills I have acquired as a lawyer; and, no, this is not how I usually spend my time):

On a side note: two interesting observations about the belly centered tat (in case you are contemplating such a mistake): it seems to require an innie for the proper effect, and it also seems to only be a
choice men make.

And if using the belly button for artistic expression is not bad enough, what was this guy thinking?

Although, he clearly wasn't as dedicated as this guy:

So the next time your mother questions your judgment, you might want to point her in the direction of this post :)

May 19, 2008

Mission Impossible: 12 Things for $20 Bucks, You Do the Math

I (and therefore my blog) have been drawing a blank lately. I don't know if it's the recent heat wave coupled with my broken A/C, but I have been lacking in the inspiration department.

Thus, I was intrigued when I saw a link to this website that helps one jolt the creative juices by suggesting various writing prompts (thanks to Two Write Hands for posting the link on her blog). It was there that I was challenged by the following question: "What are the 12 things you would buy with your last $20." Unfortunately, it wasn't much of a "writing prompt," because, let's face it, can one really buy 12 things for 20 bucks these days?

One thing's for sure: I can't use it for 12 gallons of gas. (Although, I will point out that I was a bit too quick to complain about recent gas prices. As it turns out that it was actually a good thing that I filled my gas tank up last week with $4.29/gallon gas. I drove by a gas station today and it's already up to $4.35. Yikes!! Guess I'm going to have to learn how to ride a bike pretty soon.)

May 16, 2008

A Tsp. of Apple Cider Vinegar A Day Keeps the Doctor (and Cellulite) Away

I recently learned that Apple Cider Vinegar has very important health benefits, including: strengthening the immune system, balancing cholesterol, but more importantly, promoting weight loss and fighting bad breath, cellulite and acne.

I have to give my mother credit for this one. Ever since she discovered how to use the Internet, I often get these random tips from her via e-mail. The Apple Cider Vinegar e-mail, however, was particularly intriguing:

"a friend told me about this. Take 1 tbsp. in a glass of water before meals. It tastes awful, but if it works why not."

For some reason, shockingly, I was slow to jump on the bandwagon. Until I realized...hmmm...just the excuse I needed to make a Strawberry Summer Salad. Added health benefit without the yuck factor!

May 15, 2008


$4.29: That's how much I just paid for a gallon of gas...17 times over. If you don't have a car and are wondering if I am exaggerating, here is the proof:

I remember when I thought $2.00 per gallon was ridiculous (it was less than $1 when I started driving, and I'm not even that old)...guess that's just another example of how hindsight is always 20/20.

May 14, 2008

Lost in Translation

One thing I learned from my recent trip to Brazil is that it is a country full of amusing signs. Blame it on the poor translation or how easily amused I be the judge:

So you tell me, how does one overtake a banister?

May 12, 2008

Strawberry Summer Salad

As hints of summer are approaching (or, at least, it is in California), I thought I would share the recipe for one of my favorite summer salads (and one of the few salads I make that doesn't use a store bought dressing). I learned this one from a good friend, and it is a keeper:


Salad Ingredients:

  1. 1 bag of spinach, rinsed

  2. 1/2 cup of sliced toasted almonds

  3. 3/4 cup of sliced strawberries

Dressing Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 Cup of Sugar

  2. 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds

  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons red onion

  4. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  5. 1/2 cup vegetable oil


  1. Knife/Cutting Board

  2. Whisk, Mincer and Large Mixing Bowl (or Blender)

  3. 1 large serving bowl

  4. Tossing utensils (or a fork and a spoon will do)
  5. Small serving dish for dressing (optional)


  1. Mince the red onions (if you don't have a mincing tool or crazy knife skills, a few swirls in a food processor does the trick)

  2. Place the minced red onions and the sugar in a bowl, and whisk together

  3. Add the poppy seeds to the mixture and continue to whisk all ingredients together

  4. Combine the veggie and the apple cider oil in one measuring cup, and slowly pour the oil into the dry ingredients and whisk together (so a slow and steady stream is being added as you whisk, but feel free to take as many breaks as your wrists need). (If you find whisks intimidating or aren't sure what mincing is, instead of following steps 1-4, you can also place all of the ingredients for the Salad Dressing in a blender and liquefy).

  5. Thinly slice strawberries.

  6. Toss strawberries, almonds and spinach in a salad bowl and set aside.

  7. When ready to serve, toss with salad with dressing or serve dressing on the side (spinach will become soggy if dressing sits for too long).

  8. Enjoy!