Sunday, December 19, 2010

Getting in the Spirit

I absolutely adore Christmas, but this year you'd never know it.  The holiday has barely registered with me.  I've been preoccupied with work so my kitchen has been cold for an uncommonly long time, the holiday parties I've attended have been fun but oddly devoid of Christmas decor, and although I've been haunting the department stores in search of a wedding dress it's the massive shoe sales that have caught my eye rather than the holidays windows.

But somehow this weekend the tide turned.  I'm headed to California on Tuesday, so now that I'm preparing for the trip it's really feeling like Christmas.  I spent the weekend running about doing last minute shopping, and taking full advantage of the very serious sale at Kate's Paperie and a considerably smaller one at the Conran Shop which has the cutest gift tags ever.  I spent Sunday morning wrapping presents with my loot from the shopping trip

and appropriately enough, Nigella's Christmas special was on at the time.

Now that is a woman who knows how to do Christmas.

In addition to her be-lighted and be-boughed townhouse, she's preserving dried fruits in booze,

roasting prime rib,

icing cookies (I was absolutely jealous...I barely even have bread in the house now)

and entertaining her sparkling circle of friends effortlessly.

After watching that show I was well and truly on the holiday bandwagon.

Now that my Christmas spirit has been ignited, my gifts are in order, my laundry done, my apartment clean and my work in hand, I'm free to revel in the holidays on the fairer coast with my family.  I'm looking forward to that roaring fire, the scent of the tree, the poppyseed bread on Christmas morning and that lazy time with my nearest and dearest.

I can't wait!  Happy Holidays to you all!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's All Coming Together...Sort Of

After months of inaction, Paul and I have, in the last month or so, made a lot of progress on our wedding planning.  A church has been secured, a restaurant rented and I've narrowed down the choices for the party venue.  But that said, there's a fair amount left to do.  Finding a dress, for instance.  After four hours of shopping today at just about every spot worth visiting in midtown, I'm perhaps a centimeter closer to finding something than I was when I woke up this morning.

But one thing that I have no worries about is the invitations.

I was never someone that dreamed of a very specific wedding day from the time I was a wee thing, but I did have ideas about certain, relatively random things.  Flowers for instance.  I've loved Saipua's relaxed, wildflower vibe for as long as they've been in business.  So I booked her early.  And after a quick spin through the world of wedding invitations I realized I hated just about everything, so I pleaded to Sarah from Saipua for help.  And did she ever come through.

She pointed me in the direction of a young illustrator named Asheley Wilson who works in fabulous flower stores all over town (and Brooklyn).  Paul and I met her for coffee and were utterly charmed.  She was positive, open to our ideas, totally non-judgmental about our modest budget, not to mention cute as a button.

Since we have more out of towners than in-towners coming to the wedding, we wanted sort of a vacation, destination wedding vibe, since for most of our guests it will be.  Asheley was all over it and came back with this:

A postcard...brilliant!

Paul was thrilled because it was colorful, I was thrilled because it was un-frilly but fun.  And we were both thrilled with the speed with which she pulled it off.

She's drawing away now on actual invitation ideas...I'm waiting in breathless anticipation to see what she comes up with.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Favorite Appliance EVER

New York has fallen under an arctic chill, far more extreme than is normal for early December.  And I have fallen under a mountain of meetings and work from which I have only barely emerged.  A weekend of fabulous parties, the best of which was the beautiful engagement party that Zenia threw for me and Paul, left me a tad depleted.  And a semi-late night out at the Bowery Ballroom last night only compounded the drain.

But luckily, tonight I can laze around watching TV and reacquainting myself with the miracle appliance that is my rice maker.  Paul left for England today so I'm free to have the kind of odd, ad hoc dinners that one has in complete single-girl solitude.

Since Chief didn't eat any of the items on their rider at the Bowery Ballroom, and Paul is loathe to let anything go to waste, I have two pounds of cold cuts and one pound of swiss cheese sitting in my refrigerator.  And a rice cooker just itching to make use of them.

After cooking the rice and throwing in a few vegetables and black vinegar (I was out of soy sauce so it was the next best thing), it was time for the turkey.

And then time for the cheese

And then it was time for dinner eaten out of a bowl on the couch while catching up on Dexter with a big glass of red wine at hand.

I first got the idea for this melted cheese with rice and veggies and soy sauce from Kenny Shopsin,  and I amended his recipe to make use of the rice cooker rather than the microwave.  How fitting that the ultimate "I don't care what anyone thinks of me eating this low down dirty dinner" recipe comes from the ultimate "I don't care what anyone thinks about me at all" guy.

I'm already thinking of random delicious things to throw in it tomorrow night...
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