All I want for Christmas is…

This is my wish list, but maybe some of you guys will also enjoy these things. Husbands, take note… 🙂

I saw this bag on A Cup of Jo (click through for a 25% coupon through December; $120 regular price). This bag is called The Catalina and it’s made by a company called Lo & Sons (family owned and run I believe).

catalina

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I am leaning towards the dark grey one but they also have a light grey, a yellow/green, and a purple/grey (“thistle”).

Anyone who has known me for more than an hour knows that I love hoodies. I will wear dress pants or a dress/skirt and “ruin” the outfit with one of my favorite comfy grey hoodies. This is the latest hoodie that I’ve been eyeing:

and-then-i-woke-up-hoodie

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It might be a mens but I don’t care! Grey hoodies for the win. Two of my current faves (that I already own) are…

1) Spiritual Gangster (yup it’s also a mens):

hoodie-back-spiritual-gangster hoodie-front-spiritual-ganster

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2) And a sweatshirt from Mantralogy (a record label) with a huge Ananda on the back:

ananda-hoodie

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But anyway, back to that wish list.

I am terrified of getting bunions though I think it might be too late. In any case, for those of us who wear (uncomfortable and/or cute) shoes too often, I found this simple sock solution made by Happy Feet:

happy-feet

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These socks supposedly realign your toes to make up for the scrunching that happens all day long when you wear your shoes. Good reviews on Amazon.

And lastly, I want something comfy. Don’t we all this time of year?

I’ve been staring at these Madewell lounging leggings for a while…

madewell-leggings

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But I can’t really bring myself to spend $60 on pajama pants.

So I tried to find some alternatives. Uniqlo has one that is similar and that I was able to find on my lunch break (I got the last pair):

uniqlo-leggings

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They’re called Women’s Lounge Bottoms (Rib) in Flower Print ($12.90).

While I was there I grabbed a pair of Women’s Drape Bottoms ($14.90) because why not – they looked comfy!

uniqlo-drape

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Another good holiday gift idea is a restaurant gift card… I’ve been meaning to try this kind of interesting place in Brooklyn: Eat (in Greenpoint). They serve local organic food. They also have “silent dinners” occasionally where you eat a 4-course meal in silence. Sounds very zen.

What do you want this holiday season? Or if you already celebrated, what did you get?

Random December List.

Random thoughts and things.

1) I got back from my trip to India on Sunday morning. Amazing trip. I was in Hyderabad for work for ~8 days (it’s a city in the south of India – in the state of Andhra Pradesh). JFK–>DEL the previous Saturday (after a 5 hour delay at JFK due to plane malfunctions – thanks Air India – a 14 hour flight total), did sightseeing on Sunday in Delhi, and then took a short 2 hour flight DEL–>HYD. Worked with an incredible team all week long, and then began the journey back to JFK this past Saturday. Two unexpected things about this trip to India: 1) I didn’t get to do any yoga aside from sun salutations in my hotel room and 2) there are way fewer vegetarians than I expected. I was just about full VEG for the whole trip. (I think I had a chicken sandwich in the airport on the first day.)

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(A sign at Golconda Fort, in Hyderabad – ha! I thought it was funny.)

2) Home renovations are still in progress. I am still very excited about them, but at this point I am getting very anxious to get my kitchen and bathroom back. Showering at the gym is getting old, fast. It’s been over a month now! I think we started on 11/14.

3) More travel plans this week. Bobby and I are going to visit his family in Miami and we leave on Thursday. Construction will continue while we are gone – and hopefully be nearing completion by the time we return. ::Fingers crossed:: Cats are headed to New Jersey.

4) I have only gotten to 4 yoga classes this month so far. But then again, I have only been home for ~8 days of the month so far, so this is actually a good record: one class every other day. Hoping to get to one more before we go to Miami (Wednesday morning?), and 2 more after we return. Bobby has been going with me because he joined my same yoga studio. ::Happy dance::

5) After Miami, we are going to NJ the following weekend to visit my family. Hectic hectic month!

6) I am obsessed with candles. I recently bought this avocado mint candle and this frosted maple candle from Anthropologie (not only do they have beautiful clothes, but they have wonderfully aromatic candles). I also have 3 from this line (also at Anthro).

alexei-frosted-maple-candle-anthropologie

(^^frosted maple^^)

avocado-mint-candle-anthropologie

(^^avocado & mint^^)

whipped-cream-pear-candle-anthropologie

(^^whipped cream & pear^^)

7) My favorite breakfast as of late has been a sugarless berry scone from Butterfield Bakery (unsweetened – not with fake sugar). These things are gigantic but somehow I manage to finish them. On the days I don’t get a scone I get either a fresh croissant (also from Butterfield) or a whole wheat bagel with butter from the deli around the corner.

butterfield-sugarless-scone

8) My heart goes out to the families affected by the terrible school shooting in Connecticut.

I think that is all I have for now. I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season so far. Wish I could spend more of it in New York – NYC at Christmastime is one of my favorite things.

Miami: Christmas in Miami (only 2 weeks late…)

Trying to get caught up on all my pictures… here is the Christmas spread from Miami (Bobby and I spent it with his family and family friends in Miami). On Christmas afternoon (around 1?) we headed over to their family friends’ house – it’s a gorgeous house in Coconut Grove. I think that if I could have any house in the world it would be that one!

This guy decided to watch us out the door (I still think lizards are cool – I did not grow up with them everywhere):

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Bobby’s mom (she’s an amazing cook) made a “chirashi”. Chirashi literally means “scattering” or “leaflets”. It’s a Japanese dish consisting of a bowl of sushi rice with various toppings scattered on top. I think Mom uses a slightly sweet rice (I could be wrong!) with some vinegar and sugar (maybe? sorry for the ambiguity!).

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In the US we usually think of chirashi as rice with raw fish on top, but there are actually many more types. The raw fish type is scattered with Edomae chirashizushi (the raw topping). Toppings are always left up to the chef. This time Mom put shrimp and some veggies on top (lotus root, scallions, carrots, seaweed, and sliced fried egg).

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She also made handmade mochi filled with red bean paste. These are made with sweet rice flour… I didn’t get a chance to help out but I definitely want to learn how to make these. These were wrapped individually with saran wrap.

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Once we got to the beautiful house, we helped set the table with all the goodies…

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There were mashed potatoes, green beans, turkey, Caesar salad (I think Mom brought this too), stuffing with chestnuts, cranberry sauce, wrapped up olives (always forget what these are called), gravy, and probably a bunch of other things that I’m forgetting!

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This was my first plate. I honestly don’t remember how many more I had… I definitely ate too much 🙂 It had Caesar salad, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts (these were AWESOME – I will definitely try to recreate), beans, turkey, and gravy.

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There was also a table of snacks (crackers, cookies, grapes, cheese, etc…) that I forgot to snap a picture of. And then there was dessert…

Handmade marshmallows (!). Topped with powdered sugar.

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Cupcakes!

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Panettone straight from Italy. A family member lives in Italy for work, and they were here for Christmas.

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It reminded me of our trip to Italy (back in 2008 – exactly 2 years ago now).

Back to now… it was a really wonderful day, and I’m so glad that Bobby and I were able to spend it with his family and the very accommodating and kind family friends.

One of my resolutions this year was to travel more – and I definitely want to fulfill it.

Where do you want to travel this year?

P.S. Coming up – IntenSati (Sati Life) review, eating out in New York yums, and more!

Merry Christmas! (Yes, I’m late)

Happy Boxing Day!

I’m still in Miami and loving this gorgeous “winter” weather. Bobby’s family has been amazing and we’ve been having a really fantastic time.

I’m actually home alone right now; I feel kind of sick so I’m missing out on dinner plans. I just had Christmas leftovers (turkey, mashed potatoes, and some veggies) and they were just as delicious today as they were yesterday. The recap is coming soon. In the meantime, check out these gorgeous pictures my dad sent me…

01 bouche

My mom makes Bûche de Noël every few years. Bûche de Noël is a traditional European dessert that’s served during the Christmas season. It’s also called a Yule Log. It’s mostly a French thing – the countries/provinces that make it (France, Belgium, Quebec, Lebanon, and more) are all francophone.

02 bouche

My mom usually uses 3 different recipes to make the 3 parts of the Yule Log: the cake part (sponge cake), the inside buttercream icing, and the chocolate outside icing (possibly buttercream as well? I forget).

This year she made a slug to be more realistic:

03 bouche slug

Reminds me of the banana slug that my dad and I saw in the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.

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Anyway.

My sister made Springerles, which are German cookies (biscuits?) that are made during the holidays. My Grammie always used to make them so I guess Julia took over that tradition this year. My dad said they were soft and flavorful. Definitely a success – Springerles are hard to get right.

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To make the Springerles, you use a Springerle rolling pin to press the design onto a slab of dough; then you cut the slab into squares. This one is from Wikipedia:

Springerle_roller

Julia is a great baker, so she also made these loaves of Hungarian Bread for Grammie, Aunt Mattie, and Uncle Rudy.

05 hungarian bread

I love baking presents. It’s such a nice way to show that you care. You guys all know how much I loved making those gingerbread houses

I am going to go watch some TV (Glee, perhaps?) with a nice mug of tea. Want to be rested for tomorrow’s flight.

Merry (late) Christmas again, and enjoy your weekend. I’ll try to get up the many many recaps that I have for you this week!

New York Events (Join me!)

New York News #1:

Do you like Bethenny Frankel? She’s going on tour to publicize her new book, The Skinnygirl Dish (“so much more than a cookbook”) next month. She’s coming to the Columbus Circle Borders on January 6th (a Wednesday) at 7pm. I plan on going… let me know if you want to go together.

New York News #2:

My new friend Ann (my coworker’s girlfriend) alerted me to this Warrior Challenge sponsored by Sati Life and Patricia Moreno. If you apply and are accepted you get a month-long pass to Equinox gyms (a $180 value) so that you can take intenSati classes. You just have to commit to doing 3 classes per week for a month and attending the kickoff class (January 10th) and finale class (February 7th). intenSati is a high-energy cardio workout class created by Patricia Moreno. I applied last night.

Non-New York tipoff:

Do you have Netflix? Do you want a good workout recommendation? This morning I did a 45 minute dancey/cardio workout called “Dance Off the Inches: Calorie Blasting” that was FREE with my subscription. Netflix offers a lot of free streaming videos (I’m currently blowing through the first season of Dead Like Me) and I love the workout videos. This was my first sweaty workout in a while and I had so much fun doing it. I missed real exercise! I do enjoy my relaxed routine now (20 minutes of yoga? that’s all I need each day!) but sometimes I just crave a good workout.

I’m heading off to Miami tomorrow afternoon (to join Bobby, who’s already down there with his family), so expect another post soon – I’ll have lots of writing time in the airport. I have some great posts lined up including a recap of a Christmukkah  party with friends (think latkes, homemade applesauce, and eggnog) and a crazy little announcement of something I’m doing next week with Dori.

Happy Tuesday! Almost Christmas!