Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Oh, hi! Fancy meeting you here since I am drowning in a crazy work-week and literal pouring rain this morning. Didn't want you to think I forgot about you :)

So, what have I been up to? I finally finished The Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver...remember when I told you that I would tell you if you should read it or not based on how bad the ending was? should still read it. The ending wasn't what I expected or wanted, but I have to tell you - I still liked the book. Now that I'm done with that, I thought I should read something a little fluffier, so I picked up Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin. I know, I know, way overdue since this book came out a billion years ago, but whatever! Don't judge me.

Ramble, ramble, ramble. This weekend I went out to Long Island to see my parents and hang out with my gaggle of nephews and niece. Talk about jump-starting my biological clock. I'm living my life here in Queens, loving every bit of it, thanking God everyday that I don't have "major" responsibilities like kids or a husband and BAM! Insert the cutest kids ever and I'm like ooooohh but wouldn't it be sooo nice to be woken up by these adorable faces every day??? I'm sure I wouldn't be saying that after like a month of being responsible for four little ones lives, but I had the best weekend with them. Did spelling homework, ran around like a crazy person, aka ninja, fed, burped, hugged, cuddled, philosophized, and enjoyed every second of the day with my smart, funny, adorable nephews and niece.

I mean, look at this face!
I even felt a little sad on the train ride back home to NYC. But then I remember that I had the Oscars and tacos to look forward to and the sting wore off. And this happened:

I know, I owe you guys a delicious post about Alfajores, but give me a break! I was a single mother this weekend, and I only had help from my mom, my nanny, my dad, and one of my sisters. Geez!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

My Secret Valentine

You've heard of Secret Santa, Yankee Swap, White Elephant, or even SFFCWGYG*? Well, last week for Valentine's Day we had Secret Valentines at work. Like a put-your-name-in-a-hat-and-pick-a-random-co-worker-to-secretly-give-V-day-treats-to Secret Valentine.

*No? Well this was a wonderful little Christmas tradition from my very Christian high-school's choir days: "Secret Friend From Choir Who's Giving You Gift" or what I liked to call a "Secret Jesus".

If you know me, you know I don't half-ass anything that involves secret gifts and crafting, soooo, starting on Monday, I gave my Valentine something every day leading up to Feb. 14. The budget was $5, which is nothing, so I went over it by like $3, but come on - I wouldn't be a good secret admirer if I just left one dinky box o' chocolates on her desk on Valentine's Day, right? There has to be some build up!

Monday: I made an origami heart box, and filled it with some Peruvian chocolates I had at home. Cost: $0

Making this, secretly, at work was really hard. To replicate check out the 2-part video here and here. 

Tuesday: I bought Dove chocolates in a heart shaped tin from CVS. Cost: $3.99

Wednesday: I popped out to H&M and bought a cute little multi-colored leopard print toiletry bag. Cost: $3.95

Friday:  Homemade Alfajores - Peruvian cookies filled with dulce de leche. Cost: $4, I had most/all ingredients at home, and didn't count this towards the budget because I made enough to share with everyone in the office.

Take-out Tupperware + red acrylic paint =  Cute packaging :)
I'll be sharing how I made the Alfajores - so look out for that post!

Did you have a secret admirer? Do anything special for Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

College Reunion

Had a mini reunion this weekend with my bffs from college. I've known these girls since freshman year at BC. Can you believe that it has been almost 5 years since we graduated? And almost 10 years since we first met? Now...normally I would mope around thinking about how old we've gotten, buuuut I didn't have time to mope because we were too busy eating, drinking, and having the greatest weekend :)

All photos courtesy of @esparzan - thank God she loves documenting everything!
My friend arrived from California at like 7am on Saturday, and after taking a little morning disco nap, our first stop was Queens Comfort. This place "serves superior American comfort food in a relaxed and fun environment." The chefs cook everything fresh, and the menu changes every day, season, holiday - it's really based on whatever the chefs feel like making. And everything is sinfully delicious. With a mixture of private and communal tables, this place makes you feel right at home with old-school movies playing on a large screen in the back of the room and the fact that you can BYOB your favorite $10 wine with no cork fee.
Homemade hot chocolate that we may or may not have also gotten to-go on Sunday because we had dreams of the steamy chocolate, melty marshmallows, and creamy whipped cream
 We also saw Safe Haven (terrible), went to a lounge-y bar called The Park and stayed out way too late.

Hangover cure: NY bagels
We finished off N's last night at Kuma Inn. This place is literally a hole in the wall. The first time I went there I couldn't find it. There is no sign, and you have to walk up a scary staircase. But once you walk in, the smell of the food hits you and you are in heaven.  A little expensive, the service is a little rushed, and every time I have gone there I have had a time limit on how long I can stay - but it is so worth it because the food is SO freaking good.

Clockwise from top left: tuna tartare, grilled baby octopus, Chinese sausage and sticky rice, and pillowy pork buns. Don't have a pic, but they also have a pannacotta that will change your life.
2005 & 2013 - you should have seen how many shots it took to get this. But it was worth it.
What did you do for the 3-day weekend?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Tough Love: Sibling Edition

My older siblings have always shown me tough love. In high-school when my boyfriend went away to college, my brother kept preparing me for the day that this boyfriend would call me and tell me that he cheated on me. I would ignore these ridiculous accusations and just go about my day believing that this boy would never do that to me. How could he? We were in love! Well....lo and behold...he did cheat on me and I was devastated. But not as devastated as I would have been had my brother not been telling me for months that this exact thing was going to happen. I mean, I still ate my feelings, re-read all our love notes, and watched a billion rom-coms, but deep down, somewhere, hidden under layers of sadness, I knew it was coming.

Well, yesterday was Valentine's Day. And I love Valentine's Day. Single or attached - I love it. I know, it's weird but it's probably my most favorite holiday right after Thanksgiving. So, I called my sister to talk to her about this guy that that I might be interested in and who might also be interested in me. In a nutshell? I blathered on about all the potential moments that could have meant that he liked me. And my sister totally shot me down and let me know that he probably just wanted to be friends. Now, today, in retrospect, whether she's right or not, she probably didn't mean it to be mean. She probably was just trying to lower my expectations and bring me back to reality. Which I need sometimes, because I unfortunately have an excessively healthy ego and believe that all men fall in love with me the minute they meet me. Because come on, how could they not?

But yesterday, of all days, the day of love and hearts and hope - my sister totally shut me down! So, I did what any "normal" girl would do. I hung up, went about my night, my bff came over to drink wine and celebrate Valentine's day, and then I cried.

Now, was I crying because it was Valentine's Day and my prospective manfriend was downgraded to a literal man (space) friend? Or was it because I irrationally felt like my sister didn't think this dude could like me? I mean, it hurt my feelings, but did it really merit tears?

I don't know. What I do know is that today I'm looking at things with slightly less rose-colored glasses and my heart feels less fragile in respect to the "he likes me, he likes me not" mantra that has been plaguing me for the past few days.

I guess, what I'm saying is that I should probably thank my siblings for their tough love. It makes me stronger and most of the time pinpoints the thoughts I've already had but chosen to ignore. So, thanks older siblings. I finally get it. You're a-holes because you love me ;)


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Alfajores and other news

Morning! Don't be alarmed. I will not leave you like I did in 2012! I have good reasons for why I did not blog last night!

1. I stopped at Sephora after work and obviously spent way too much money on three stupid things, that I'm sure I could have found at CVS for much cheaper - BUT - the staff are so helpful there, and I feel so pampered when they show me how to use everything!

2. I stayed up until 11pm making - what we in Peru call- manjar blanco, more commonly known as dulce de leche. For those of you who don't know, dulce de leche is this super delicious caramel-like spread that you can basically put on anything and it makes everything a thousand times better and sweeter.

What does this mean? Well, if you are really dedicated, you could stir a pot over and over with condensed milk, evaporated milk, baking power, and vanilla extract and try to get the consistency just right. Or you could do what I do and boil a can of condensed milk for 3 hours and the most you have to do is check every hour to make sure the water hasn't boiled down too low. I  know, I know, it sounds like a long time. But it is so worth it because you don't have to worry about overcooking or burning the milk.

Three little cans of yummy goodness snug as bugs in rug!
I made the dulce de leche because I'm planning on making alfajores, these AMAZING shortbread-esque sandwich cookies that are filled with this caramel-y goodness, for Valentine's Day. Just a little treat for my friends at work. Don't worry, I'll take more pics tonight of the process and finished products and you will die of jealousy.

Are any of you making goodies for your Valentines?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blizzard = Cabin Fever = Almost Death

Remember when I made all those great goals for this weekend?  Yea, me too. And remember when I didn't do any of them? too.

I did rest and work on some music which I would count as being productive. Oh, and yea, I did watch 2 episodes of Downton Abbey. But seriously, why do I make goals if I never intend to keep them? I don't know! Get off me back. Geez....It's just so hard to stay motivated when it's cold outside and there is snow on the ground. It's like a get-out-of-jail-free card. So, I was really surprised when by the time the Grammy's rolled around last night I was ready to do anything but sit on my ass and watch TV. And guys, that's one of my favorite past-times!

I bounced around the apartment, doing push-ups, crunches, and lifting 5 lbs weights above my sounds great when I say it like that. Kind of like a CURVES right in my own living room. My mom would be so proud. But you know what isn't great? Almost passing out because I haven't been to the gym since I started my new job, and that was the most "exercise" I've done in the last 5 months, unless you count walking 3 avenues to the subway every morning and 3 avenues back? Which I do not.

Yes, it's embarrassing to admit, but we've all been there (right?). You have a surge of energy, you think you can jump right back into the same level of intensity after months and then a big ol' dose of reality slaps you right in the face and you see stars and little birds flying around your head. And all the while you are wondering if you can make it to your bed before you fall down on the hardwood floor and your roommate has to call 911. And even while all that was happening, and my bff was gently plying me with aloe vera juice to get some sugar pumping through my veins, all I kept thinking was, "Don't pass out. You are in a bathrobe, with no underwear on, and you haven't shaved your legs in so long. Your mom will be mortified when she comes to meet you in the ER." Once again, my shame and Catholic guilt enables me to overcome tough life situations. Hooray!

I hope you will be happy to know that I did not pass out and I was fine after 5 minutes. But it felt touch and go there for a while. I did learn a valuable lesson though: Working out can kill you and you shouldn't do it.

Okay, okay, that wasn't the lesson, but don't you wish it was?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

We survived the blizzard!!

Do you remember snow days when you were little? You jumped out of bed, ran to the window and let out a yelp of excitement at the clean, white blanket of fluffy canvas. Those were the days, right? Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, if you're an adult living in NYC, snow days are even better.  You stock up on wine, snacks, and start scrolling through your Netflix queue to catch up on all those movies/shows you haven't had the time for. Your landlord has to worry about shoveling the sidewalk while you cuddle up with your warmest blanket and basically do whatever you want. Who doesn't want that?!

Things I (pretend to) hope to accomplish:

1. Dust/sweep my apartment
2. Finally start laying out the quilt I've been planning to make for like two years
3. Polish my nails
4. Clean out the fridge
5. Pick out my Valentine's day heart-themed outfits for next week (pics to follow!)
6. Catch up on Downton Abbey

Sky's the limit really, but honestly, I'll probably just sit around thinking about all the awesome things I could be doing while I watch Downton and polish my nails.

What are you guys doing today?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lost my favorite black cardigan, and Nemo found us.

Every night after I give a shout out to God, and snuggle into bed I do what every red-blooded 20-something does....I think about what I am going to wear the next day.

I like to think about what I am going to wear, and basically have it set in my mind so that when I wake up in the morning all I need to do is stumble to the shower, put on my pre-set outfit and only worry about what I am going to scrounge together for lunch.

Well, this morning I was going to wear my black cardigan. You know, that black cardigan that's the perfect length and looks good with anything? And I. COULD. NOT. FIND. IT. This may sound trivial, but you've all had that moment of sheer panic when you are frantically looking for something in the morning and you are sure that it is under your nose and you just can't find it so it puts you in an even larger frenzy and then you just are like WHATEVER, fuck it. Ain't nobody got time for this.

Yea, that's exactly what happened, except after I looked everywhere in my room, I went straight to mentally blaming my roommate and stomped around the apt like a lunatic, which made it even worse, because by the time I got to the office, I felt really bad for being such a brat. Obviously apologized big time and it was fine. But the point is that I got home and it was right in the corner of my closet where I knew it was supposed to be, hanging there mocking me. Tell me this has happened to you?

Also - blizzard Nemo? Normally I get all frothy when it comes to prepping for a storm. Hurricane Irene, my roommate and I filled our bathtub with water. Hurricane Sandy, we filled everything with water, got two huge bottles of wine and provisions to make nachos (priorities people). And thankfully the most we've ever had to deal with is a slow internet connection. But for this blizzard, I have nothing. Some leftovers in the fridge, and my roommate is making soup. Let's hope we make it out warm and with full bellies.

Stay warm!

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

How it took me so long to find this is beyond me. For all you Pride and Prejudice fans out there, enjoy!

How I became VP of Fashion Club

*Warning - this post is freaking long - but I think it's totally worth it*

I've always been obsessed with clothes and fashion, so when someone at my new job asked me if I wanted to be part of the Fashion Club how could I resist? Did you misread that? Does "job" mean "summer camp"? Am I taking up extracurricular activities for my college apps? Nope. Some girl at my job came up to my desk a month after I had started and asked me to be part of her club. The conversation went a little like this:

D: Hey
Me: Hi (clickity clack typing away- when I start a new job, I live by the ANTM motto: I'm not here to make friends)
D: I really like your jacket!
Me: Oh thanks! (It is this great black and white polka dot blazer that I LOVE). I just got it at Ann Taylor Loft for like 60% off.
D: Awesome. (beat) So, you should be part of the Fashion Club.
Me: (chuckle) Yea, haha. My fashion sense is awesome.
(Guys, I thought she was kidding)
D: So, do you know Mike Epstein?
Me: Uhhhhhh
D: Well, he used to be HR, but now I'm recruiting people. T is the President and S is Director of Communications.
D: Great! So, you should definitely apply to be part of Fashion Club. You just have to write a cover letter, and send us a picture of your best outfit. We'll review it and tell you if you've been accepted.

And that's when I this a mean girl moment? Is this girl just inviting me to be part of this "club" so that I send her a cover letter and get really into it and then she forwards it along to all the other bitches at work and they just make fun of me behind my back? Is this for real? Well....not but a few minutes later did I get an email:

Subject: Fashion Club Update

Hello team,

...After observing and studying their outfit choices and color combinations, I would like to invite MCC and R to apply to Fashion Club...

*Reminder* To apply to Fashion Club and be considered for admission, you must send a Cover Letter to S  - Head of Communications-, to our lovely President T, and to myself along with a photograph where we can see your fabulous outfit of the day.
Thank you and I hope you two accept this invitation.

And like any normal person I forwarded it to all my friends and cracked jokes and wondered aloud to each other whether or not they were actual mean girls. After a lot of LOLing and mulling it over, I thought it couldn't hurt to send out a quick little response: 

Subject: RE: Fashion Club Update
Hello all,

Thank you for inviting me to be part of the prestigious and exclusive fashion club! I am honored to know that someone other than myself and my mirror appreciates my daily fashion choices.

I’ll be mulling over my best outfit this weekend and constructing a cover letter that will knock your matte stockings off your well-manicured feet!

Have a great weekend – Saturday is supposed to be prime Fall-layering weather!

C'mon! I couldn't resist the opportunity to make all those fashion-y sentences! I waited a couple of weeks before actually sending a cover letter. I wanted to get to know these girls. And when I was pretty sure they weren't going to go all mean girls on me, I sent this KICK-ASS cover letter:

Hello all,

I have been remiss and I hope that that has not left you indifferent to my participation in the Fashion Club. I will not regale you with excuses for my delayed response but extend an apology and some awesome photos. Unsure of whether or not you would like a very formal cover letter, I do hope that an  informal “cover-plea” for my acceptance will suffice.

First and foremost, I would like to say again how happy I was when you extended the invitation to join the Fashion Club...People don’t know that fashion doesn't have to be shallow. That it’s not about insecurity or designer labels or status. It is about expressing yourself, your personality, and your character...   

...And, I do love searching the racks for that perfect trendy piece that will update an old outfit and make it fresh and new!

I’m inspired by designers who not only make clothes, but create art. I went to the Alexander McQueen exhibit last year and each piece was an incredible sculpture, each print a unique painting...Of course, like anyone else, I am inspired by magazines, blogs, celebrities, friends, and designers, but my original and constant inspiration is my mother.  I grew up surrounded by fashion. I can still remember my mom running out the door to work with her highly teased hair, brightly colored jackets with sky-high shoulder pads, tight leather mini-skirts, sheer tights and 80’s the life of a true fashionista. She constantly changed her style with each season and still kept it classic. She ignited this passion.

As for the photos attached, photo #1, shows that fashion was even a priority at a young age (okay, okay, this one is kind of a joke...I’m 2nd from the right – my nanny and I decided that a short bob was the way to go for the first day of 2nd grade – not the best decision).  

Photo #2 stars my Michael Kors trench coat that I got at Marshall’s for like $100! You can see my red/orange/brown paisley LOFT sweater peeking through, and the strap of my red Cynthia Rowley bag (also from Marshall’s for a steal!). 

Photo #3 is from my sister’s rehearsal dinner – I love the pleats on that skirt – that dress made me feel like I had just come from the tennis club. Note the purple nails!

I would love to be part of this club, not only because fashion is great, but also because I am excited to get to know all of you better!

I hope I have made my case and I can’t wait to hear more about what the Fashion club does and everything it entails.

And that's how I got invited and accepted to the Fashion Club. And finally made friends at work.
Hope you enjoyed this embarrassing display.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

We have to stop meeting like this.

It's actually really embarrassing how long it has been since I last blogged. A little over one year. So much has happened since we last spoke A YEAR AGO. Let me see if I can break it down for you:

1. I quit my job in publishing and started working at a non-profit 5 months ago
2. I read a butt load of books - yes, I said buttload (Checkout my shelf here)

3. My sister got married in August and I started losing clumps of hair and a significant amount of eyelashes and I looked like a broken doll.
You can't tell because I had some major fake eyelashes :)

4. My hair stopped falling out, and my eyelashes finally grew back by November. Thank goodness.
5. I got invited to be part of the fashion club at work - I'll tell you more about that later.
6. My brother had his third baby - a beautiful baby girl - and I died and went to heaven.
7. Oooo, I bought a sewing machine.
8. I started making more DIY crafts.
My roommate said this one day and I couldn't get it out of my head! I used acrylic paint, stencils for the letters, and drew the little worm :) and I gave it to my bff for her birthday

Bought this Ralph Lauren pillow from TJ Maxx for $16! I looked up monogram letters online and cut out stencils and then taped them onto the pillow before painting them on with fabric paint. I got the idea from Lauren Conrad. She says to use fancy sticky paper, but you don't need it!
9. Pipes burst outside our apt, and flooded our kitchen.

10. Gossip Girl ended and I didn't know what to do with myself.
11. I turned 27 and thought about how when I was 18 I thought I would have figured things out by now and then laughed at my naivete.
12. Other things happened that I am sure were important in my life, but I just can't remember them right now.

But anyway, hi! Great to be back. I guess I should tell you what I'm reading right now, right? Have you guys heard of We Need to Talk about Kevin? Well, I read that book for bookclub a couple of months ago and I couldn't stand it. It was the worst book ever and I wanted to throw it out the window so many times. So, Lionel Shriver wrote that book and I thought I would never read a book by her ever again - but alas, I picked up The Post-Birthday World, and I actually like it. It's kind of like that movie Sideways with Gwenyth Paltrow - where there are two storylines that branch off based on this one decision the protagonist chooses in the beginning. I haven't finished it yet, but I'm hoping that it won't be all messed up in the end and that I won't regret telling you guys that I liked it. So, as of right now, you guys should totally read it. But I'll let you know if the ending sucks and save you the disappointment.

Until next time!