Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Find: Terrifying Elevators

This weeks Friday Find theme is "Elevators" specifically: Terrifying Elevators. I recently come across two different viral videos that take place in an elevator. Suffice it to say, after seeing these two videos I will forever think twice before stepping into an elevator.

This is a funny, lighthearted, and generally innocent prank:



This video is less funny as it is astounding.



I have so. many. questions.
1. How would I have reacted if in the same position?
2. How did nobody punch that little girl in the face?
3. What parents let their little girl do this??
4. Is the laugh track really necessary? It's just...off-putting
5. How is this Legal?! (It's Brazil...but still!)

Have a good weekend and be careful riding in scary elevators!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Intralase Surgery

Source

It's Official! I have scheduled my Intralase eye surgery for January 19th, 2013 with Diamond Vision of Manhattan! As of January 20th, I will be able to wake up in the morning and immediately SEE clearly!! I've needed glasses since I was 10 years old and have been wearing contacts since I was 13. The thought of waking up in the morning and not immediately needing to grab for my glasses is mind boggling to me. Mind boggling and exciting :)

I now have 4 friends who recently gotten this surgery and I'm jumping on board to be the next! January 19th can not come soon enough!

Have you or has anyone you know had Lasik or Intralase surgery? Any tips or words of wisdom for an excited, albeit a little nervous, intralase patient?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Review: The Woman Who Wasn't There

Last week I read The Woman Who Wasn't There in two days flat. This story is about a woman who becomes the face of survivors after the 9/11 attack. She started support groups, gave tours, helps pass legislation for health care bills helping the survivors of 9/11. Sharing her own harrowing survival story of 9/11, she inspired many to move on with their lives after 9/11.

Except for one thing: Her entire story was made up. She wasn't even in the United States on 9/11.
Source

I first heard about this book from Karen's blog and thought the plot sounded so interesting. I immediately put it on hold at the library and got it pretty quickly. I couldn't put this book down. I recently heard of a survey done where two groups of people read mystery novels. One group knew the ending before starting the book, and the other group didn't know the ending. The group who knew the ending enjoyed the book a lot more than the group that didn't. It's an interesting story, but I think that it applied to my experience reading this book. Knowing the whole time that her story was made up made it all the more riveting for me, and I had to keep reading to see how she was discovered.


Here is a brief video about the book, if you end up reading this book let me know, I'd love to discuss it with others who have read it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap

With all the excitement of my big Four Star Luxury Trip for Two to Napa Valley win yesterday, I didn't even get to update on my Thanksgiving and weekend! Though I was bad with keeping up with photos of the weekend, here is what I was able to capture.

Wednesday night Chris and I walked two hours in Manhattan from 59th Street all the way down to 10th street to have dinner with friends at Sammy's Noodle Shop. It was a gorgeous night and we had some time to kill before dinner so we took our time and made some stops along the way. We saw the tree in Rockefeller Center, and we stopped in Bryant Park to watch the ice skaters, and perused some of the pop-up shops there for the Holidays.  By the last 10 blocks we were pretty beat, and definitely ready for dinner!


We drove to my parent's house in Pennsylvania on Thursday morning. Zoey saw us packing and was very worried she wouldn't be joining us, so she kept giving us uber-puppy eyes to ensure that we wouldn't say "no" to bringing her with us.
How pathetic is she?!


Our Turkey Day Dinner consisted of Turkey, caramelized brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, corn pudding, sweet potatoes with apples, and homemade bread. Mom did a great job with dinner as always...YUM!
 and of course...some wine:


For dessert we had my mom's homemade pecan pie, a raspberry cream pie from Briermere Farms on Long Island (my mother-in-law sent that home with us and it was sooo good) and I made my first ever pumpkin roll. Though it kind of fell apart and didn't so much "roll" as it did break apart and crumble everywhere, it still tasted good, and I am determined to tackle (and perfect) the pumpkin roll sometime again soon:

After a successful day of black Friday shopping my parents, Chris, and I had dinner at Alandro's Cuisine in Bethlehem, PA. It was authentic Kenyan cuisine and despite some glitches with the wait staff, it was really good food!
Top Left: Kenyan beef Samosa appetizer
Top Right:  African Peanut Soup
Bottom Left: Beef Stew
Bottom Right: Chicken Masala
The rest of the weekend was spent catching up with friends (Holla to Cassie, Mal and Eric!) watching movies (J. Edgar - very interesting, and seriously, Leonardo DiCaprio is truly an amazing actor!) and Zoey did her best to keep us safe from evil squirrels lurking outside the house!


We drove back home to New York on Saturday, and made a brief pit-stop on Staten Island to drop off some things we bought to donate there: canned goods, water, cleaning supplies, gloves, etc. I can't tell you what I was expecting to see...or what I thought the place would have looked like...but we were shocked by the damage still there on Staten Island. Wrecked cars everywhere, houses completely blown out, debris, dirt and sand everywhere. We didn't take too many pictures because it was sad and we didn't want to look like "tourists". We caught this picture where there is an overturned truck in the back left and a car hanging over the side of driveway.

Driving home along the Belt Parkway, there was still sand all the way up to the highway and many piles of debris near Rockaway Beach.

It was a sad reminder of what other families are having to deal with this Holiday Season, and yet another reason to feel very lucky and thankful for my happy, and safe family.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I won a HUGE Giveaway!

You know all those contests and giveaways out there where you enter for a chance to win an all-expense paid trip to such and such a place? And you never win, and never expect to win, but you enter anyway?!

Well...I entered one on Skinny-Bits and beat out 2,403 entrants for the Four Star Luxury Trip for Two to Napa Valley with Dole giveaway!

Wait till you hear what I won!
Source

The Details:

  • (2) round-trip coach tickets
  • Ground transfers to/from home/airport
  • One compact car rental 
  • A 3-day culinary adventure at The Culinary Institute of America of which includes a 4-hour hands on experience with Clinton Kelly (Host of What Not To Wear and the Chew)
  • 3 night luxury hotel accommodations at the four-star Solage Hotel & Spa
  • $1,000 in spending money
Trip Date:  June 21-24, 2013
Source
Chris and I were in Napa Valley last year for the first time and cannot WAIT to go back to what looks like an amazzzing hotel and spa, and equally exciting culinary experience! I can't thank Gina enough for hosting this unbelievable giveaway and I can't wait to share every detail of our trip with you all!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Or, FOMO)

I just finished Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) 
Source

This was quick, light read but highly enjoyable. Mindy Kaling is hilarious and one of my favorite comedians. From her portrayal of Kelly Kapoor on The Office, to her new show The Mindy Project, I highly enjoy her quick wit and sarcastic humor. In this book, Mindy talks about her issues with weight, shares the good, the bad and the ugly with dating, tells hilarious stories from her childhood, talks a lot about friendships, and recounts how she's moved up from a lowly intern at the Conan O'Brien show to where she is today.

Have you read Mindy's book, or watched her new show?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Crusty Homemade Bread

This weekend was very low-key. So low-key, I hardly even have any pictures from it! I kept busy at home cleaning, crafting, baking and getting some things ready for Thanksgiving, so I was very busy, but very relaxed because we didn't have any plans and weren't on any particular schedule. The best accomplishment from the weekend is the loaf of bread I made in my le creuset dutch oven. I have a bread machine, and I like it very much. But...I have to say, my le creuset may just be my new "go-to" bread maker after how good this bread came out.
Simply So Good Blog

I followed this recipe which I found on pinterest from the blog, Simply So Good.

Ingredients:
3 cups white flour
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water (110-115 degrees F)

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine and whisk the flour, salt, and yeast
Add the water and mix until just combined
Cover with plastic wrap and let sit out for 12-18 hours (or overnight)

The next day, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Once the oven is preheated, put the pot with the lid on in the oven to preheat for 30 minutes.

Put the dough on a heavily floured surface and roll into a ball. Once the pot is preheated, place the dough ball into the pot, cover and put back into the oven for 30 minutes. When you remove the pot, it should look like this:

What we got was the crispiest, tastiest bread I have ever made. I am making two more loaves this week for Thanksgiving! 

This bread was a huge hit with the hubby and his family. I highly recommend it, and this is my new "go to" bread recipe!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Find: Justin Bieber Fans Documentary

Chris and I are big Elvis Duran and the Morning Show fans. We have a radio in the bathroom that we listen to every morning as we're getting ready. My favorite person on the show is TJ. He's the most sensible person, and he's hilarious. He does a ton of stuff on video that he's always talking about, but I hadn't watched too much of his stuff until recently. Last week,  I came across this "Bieber Documentary" he made and thought it was great. Enjoy and Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Word Verification Nightmares

Lately, the word verification for blogger blogs has been driving me nuts. It sometimes takes me 5 tries to get a comment to go through because I cannot tell what the words are. They're impossible!

This is literally an example of what I am faced with when commenting on other blogs:
pardon my french, but WTF?? I think it took me 5 tries to get this right: 2TTi rmsanni. The left part was what threw me. Does commenting on other blogs really need to be this difficult? Is this what our world has come to?! I can't tell you what you should or shouldn't do with your blogs, but I bet your readers would be a lot happier if you took comment moderation off.

But what about all those pesky spammer bots? Don't worry, there is a way to avoid them.

First, in blogger, I switch "show word verification" to "no". This makes it easier for people to leave comments on my blog, which is always a good thing!


On my old blog, the spam comments were starting to get out of control. Every few minutes I would get an email sent to my inbox from "Anonymous" and I knew it was a spam commenter asking me to "click here" for free Viagra, or something ridiculous.

I created a filter in my gmail so that any email coming from "Anonymous" automatically went straight to my trash. I never see these comments or these emails and I'm not hassled by it at all!

If you have gmail, setting it up is easy:
1. In Gmail, Go to Settings/Filters
2. Create New Filter
3. From: Anonymous

4. Click Continue
5. Check the boxes "Skip the inbox (Archive it)" and "Delete it"


6. Click Update filter and voila- you will never see those pesky anonymous comments again!
They will automatically filter to your trash folder. This is my trash folder - 18 spam comments in a matter of 20 minutes!


Every once in awhile I'll go into my spam comments in Blogger and delete them all, but it's not necessary.
Now you are free to leave off comment moderation so that your lovely bloggers can leave comments without all the hassle!

What do you think? Do you have a better way of dealing with pesky spammers?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Instagram Online Profiles

I have trouble finding people on instragram. I was very happy to see last week that Instagram finally has online profiles! Check yours out, mine is Instagram.com/lwoodsny

I find that I have trouble following a lot of the blogs that I love because instagram is so phone based, and my blogging is so computer based, is that just me?

Are you on Instagram? Follow me on instragram @lwoodsny so I can be sure to follow you back!

Monday, November 12, 2012

This weekend in #Hashtags

This weekend in Hashtags, I started the weekend off right with a little trip to #DylansCandyBar after work.

We didn't have power (#nopower) for 6 hours on Saturday because they were taking down a HUGE tree down the block from us that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. It was quite fascinating to watch, and people on the block were crowded around to watch all afternoon. Some even brought out lawn chairs and made a day of it. We watched for a little bit here and there in between running various errands and taking care of some house projects. We finally took a breather and watched Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Meh..it was ok)
 
The tree-workers were all the way from Maine and the electric company working on our power lines was from Quebec! I was so touched that they were still here to help restore the city! I really wanted to bring them cookies or something, but I didn't have anything on hand and I didn't have power to cook or bake! We were only left in the dark for about an hour as the sun set, then the power came back on around 6:00pm.
Lighting candles around the house
For dinner, I made this recipe from Skinnytaste: Spaghetti with Butternut Squash and Shallot with Parmesan cheese. I had to modify it a little bit, using shallot instead of leek from the recipe, I didn't have sage, and I eventually tossed mine with goat cheese and liked that better.

Sunday I met up with an old friend from High School, Rachel, for #brunch at City Coffee in Jackson Heights. I had an egg-white omelet with artichokes, spinach and goat cheese. It was one of the best omelets I've ever had!
I came home, worked on a few craft projects, Zoey took a little nap, and went on a #3MileRun, it was soooo gorgeous outside! Then we had dinner at the in-laws, and called it a wrap on another great and semi-relaxing weekend!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Find: Kung Fu Baby (and a Nor'easter)

What is UP with this weather? After a 2 1/2 hour commute home on Wednesday, in which I literally could not feel my toes, and don't think I've ever been so cold in my life, we got slammmed with snow! It took us over an hour to shovel ourselves out on Thursday morning...Zoey clearly was no help to us at all...
Then I got myself ready and headed to the Long Island Railroad to head into work. This was on Long Island
When I got to Manhattan, this is how it looked...

It's like nothing even happened here...craziness! Sometimes I feel like I live and work in two completely different states.

In honor of the weekend I leave you with this little gem of a video.

Dragon Baby: A baby and a stuffed animal kung-fu fighting. It's pretty amazing. (video)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Schmackarys Cookies - NYC

Two weeks ago, when I met up with my friend, Dave (of luvs diapers commercial fame), we had dinner at Eatery NYC, which was really great. I didn't get pictures of my food :( but I had an amazing "winter salad" and cucumber and thyme martini. It's a thing!

But the highlight of the evening was after dinner when Dave suggested we head over to Schmackarys - Lip "schmackin" good cookies! I was in heaven. Sheer Heaven. How did I not know this place existed??

I had a really hard time deciding which cookie I wanted: Classic Chocolate Chip? Flutter Nutter? Peanut Butter After Dark? Red Velvet? Cookies and Cream? Candied Yam??!!

I finally settled on a small glass of milk and a Candied Yam cookie, in the spirit of the season.

I also got a classic chocolate chip and a peanut butter cookie to take home to Chris. Truth be told, I wasn't totally sold on the candied yam cookie. It was too sweet or too something. I ate half of it and then ate half of the classic chocolate chip cookie (maybe more like 3/4...or possibly 7/8th? 7.5/8ths? I had to save some for Chris) and THAT WAS AMAZING. The sea salt, the melty chocolate, it was worth the belly ache I had the whole way home.
And so, I find another New York food gem that I just can't resist.

Diet starts tomorrow, right?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

6 Degrees of Separation

I think it's cool when people I know become famous. As my good friends will tell you, I take any chance I get to tell people that I know Amanda Seyfried.
imdb.com

She grew up near me in Pennsylvania and I used to play the piano for her voice lessons when I was in High School. And I worked out next to her at the gym once, but it had been quite a few years since I'd seen her, it was after Mean Girls, and I just didn't know what to say. I tried to think of things to strike up a conversation several times and chickened out every time:
"Hey..you're that girl from Mean Girls, right?"
"Hey! I used to play piano for you...how's Lindsay Lohan?"
"Hey girl! Long time no see, tellmeeverythingabouthollywoodandLindsayLohan!! Wanna be BFFS4lyfe?!"

But now, I feel like I have a closer friend in Hollywood with Dane, an old friend from my summer theater camp days.
imdb.com

We were in a very close-knit group of friends and would all hang out together literally all day, every day for 4 summers straight. It's been a couple years since I've seen him, but after starring in Chronicle, and also appearing in Lawless and the upcoming movies Kill Your Darlings, and The Place Beyond the Pines, he's someone I know know, and he's hitting the big time!

Two weeks ago, I had dinner with my High School friend, Dave, who I think is also well on his way to hitting the big time either through film or stage acting. He recently booked a commercial and I couldn't be more excited for him. Plus, I think the commercial is hilarious.
(video)


Do you know anyone famous, or know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, that's famous?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weekend in #Hashtags

I am hoping that this week will be a little bit back to normal for people as the East Coast continues to recover from Hurricane Sandy. Due to the gas shortage, and the fact that 90% of the places I usually shop at on Long Island were still without power, Chris and I had a relaxing weekend mostly at home. I did go to get my eyebrows threaded (truly, I would have had to taken up threading myself if they weren't open - I was embarassed to even leave the house the way they were!) Even though they didn't have power, they were able to put a chair right up against the window and thread by window-light. Phew! Good thing good old fashioned threading doesn't require electricity.

We finally hung our wedding picture on the wall in our living room, plus a couple other frames around the house. #BetterLateThanNever

I worked on this Pinterest Project for above the piano. Even though it didn't come out exactly the way I want it, I learned a lot about how I want to do this again right next weekend. Here is attempt number one. I have a couple ideas on how to change it up to look better before I hang it. I'll show you my second attempt next week. #CraftProject

On Friday night I saw The Mystery of Edwin Drood on Broadway with some friends. It was such an amaaazing show. It was hilarious and a real "feel good" show after such an exhausting and depressing week. The audience chooses the ending in this murder mystery so every ending is different. It's really fun!

#Broadway
#TheMysteryOfEdwinDrood
#Sleepover
 I stayed at my friends' apartment after the show because it was difficult for me to get home by public transportation or cab after the show. Cabs don't want to use the gas to go out to Queens, and buses and subways were still "meh". I got to meet their adorable kitties though!
 #Ethel
#Fred 
#Kitties
The gas lines by me continue to be insane. Lines mile long, people standing outside for hours, or waiting in their cars for an entire day just to get gas. I can't confirm this, but I heard rumors that there was a knife stabbings at the station down the road from me this weekend. I've decided that people have lost their minds. Calm down, people! Absolute insanity: #CrazyGasLines


And finally, we finished off the weekend with a dinner at home with our newly married friends, James and Maria followed by Dexter and Homeland!
What did you do this weekend?