28 June 2013

Cooking with Julia: EGGS

Top o' the mornin', friends!

I delightfully spent the entire night watching the pilot for the new NBC show Siberia (twice) as well as multiple clips from SNL and Late Night. Yup.

Now I don't know about you, but whenever I pull an all-nighter, I like to top it off with a wonderful breakfast to keep me awake. That or a refreshing morning photo walk. Today's activity of choice was scrambled eggs, and BOY were they good (!)

Eggs, any amount of your choosing: How hungry are you this morning?
Milk, an experimented amount, one decided on the spot: How fluffy do you like your eggs, and how much milk "looks right" to you?
Cheese, the best addition to any meal; type is up to you
Salt & Pepper, another ingredient completely dependent on your taste

Ready, Set, Cook!*
1. Crack eggs into a bowl large enough to allow for whisking without spillage.
2. Whisk well using any utensil on hand, including but not limited to: whisks, forks, chopsticks, etc.
3. Add milk, but not too much! Milk makes your eggs nice and fluffy, but you don't want egg soup. Stir the milk in.
4. Take your pan and place it atop the burner of your choice, turning it on to slightly below medium. Allow to heat up before adding your eggs.
5. Slowly pour eggs in and let sit for about 60 seconds.
6. Sprinkle cheese, if you so choose to, atop your eggs. I used Kraft's Mexican Cheese blend because that's all there was in the fridge and who can really go without cheese?
7. After adding cheese, immediately fold the edges of your eggs inward using a spatula
8. Allow your eggs to cook and just prior to finishing them off with a second fold, add salt and pepper to taste.
9. Once thoroughly cooked, transfer to suitable dishware and enjoy! Bon appetit! 

Now pour yourself a glass of orange juice. Freshly squeezed is fantastic, but Tropicana will do. If, like myself, you are stuck with a new economy-sized jug, please know that I understand your sorrow in being unable to indulge in a well-shaken glass of OJ. Because it's impossible to procure a well shaken glass from a new container.

To make the cooking experience even more enjoyable, cook along to a favorite playlist of your choice. I like upbeat songs in the morning, they're a nice wake-me-up, although I've been awake since 11 yesterday morning ;)

*This is entirely experimental and is written based on experience, please don't get angry if things go wrong

Nightly News, late June Edition

1. The MET will stop producing its iconic metal tabs identifying museum patrons in favor for paper tickets with detachable stickers. The reason? It costs too much to produce the colorful tabs. This change also comes with a seven-day-a-week museum schedule which no longer recognizes its previous "closed on Mondays" one. 

2. This Week in Sports, Tennis: Rafael Nadal infamously lost his first round match in this year's Wimbledon games to 135th ranked player What's-His-Name (apologies if that's rude, but I sincerely don't know his name). Roger Federer also faced a surprising upset to 116th-ranked player What's-His-Face during their second round match. 'twas a sad day in sporting, ladies and gentlemen. 

3. A&E: The BDSM version of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Saga "50 Shades of Grey" has acquired a director and has their sights on a summer 2014 silver screen release. So far, the roles of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey have not yet been cast, but I was rooting for Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev. 

That's all for tonight, folks! Stay dry. 

24 June 2013

Cooking with Julia: Water

Most of my business in the kitchen has to do with water:

I pull out the pitcher of chilled water from the fridge to fill my cup. If the pitcher is less than half empty, I proceed to refill it with water from the Brita pitcher. After emptying the Brita, I fill it with tap water. However, if there isn't enough water in the Brita to fill the fridge pitcher, I fill the fridge pitcher with water from the Brita dispenser and also refill the Brita pitcher. In this case, I also refill the Brita dispenser. Then I take my cup of cold water and leave. This cycle then resumes when I empty my cup.

It's a yearlong cycle: In the winter, cold water is replaced with tea and a hot water dispenser replaces the fridge pitcher although both are always actively in use.

Water, water everywhere: it's all drops to drink.

Then I guiltily waste a lot of water from constantly being in the bathroom as a result of continuous water consumption.

The Summer Zine, Issue No. 2

Good afternoon, T-storms and thunderclaps!

Since NYC public schools close this week, I thought it appropriate to talk about summer despite the gloomy weather we're expected to have this week (boo!). This is issue #2 of The (Semi-)Ultimate NYC Summer Bucket List although this one isn't quite in bucket list form...

Tattly's Randomizer Tour!
Nothing cries "summer" more than a colorful popsicle stick (or pair of sunnies) tattooed on your forehead. This summer, Tattly has teamed up with stores across lower Manhattan and Brooklyn to bring you the Randomizer Tour! At selected venues during selected dates, our favorite temp tattoos will be sold via a kawaii little vending machine for a quarter each! That's right, 25c. I fully intend to raid my crayon bank for quarters in anticipation of spending them all on tattoos. (Can you tell I'm really excited?)

Adventures in Adventure Suits (iPhone5)
If you're planning on going someplace characterized by water sports and the deep blue sea this summer, consider opting for this awesome iPhone adventure suit instead of that really cute pair of shoes you've been eyeing. I know, I know: What could possibly trump a highly-coveted designer garment of your choice?! Well this iPhone suit will fully protect your precious while going underwater and you'll be able to get really cool shots down there too! This is a must-buy for Instagrammers who want to one-up their friends with kooky snaps from the pool, waterslide, beach, lake, or any other body of water. Also available for the iPhone 4 and 4S (and a lot cheaper too, you lucky people)

Speaking of suits... SUITS
Everyone's favorite lawyer-associate duo is back on the air in July! Can you imagine the things you could do with an eidetic memory (photographic memory in layman's terms)?! Aside from taking standardized exams for snooty kids who don't have the brains to get into Harvard, you could be a circus act! You probably got your PhD at age 16 and now work as a kickbutt medical research scientist who performs life-saving surgeries on the regular with a side gig as a top-notch attorney who recites the entire Encyclopedia Britannica to a stadium full of kids after breakfast. (What?)

Learn Something!
I really love the idea of recalling back to a summer and saying "Oh yeah, that's the summer I learned how to _____________" Options include, but are not limited to: speak Klingon, surf, ride a bike, write a computer program, make an ace sandcastle, recreate King's Landing in Minecraft, build a fire, perfect a microwave brownie, etc. While the possibilities are endless, I find the novelty of spending a summer perfecting a craft quite splendid because when August ends, you are an expert in a craft of your choice.

Will there be an Issue No. 3? Stay tuned to find out...

Julia, over and out.

20 June 2013

Adventure is Out There!

I was just thinking that I could really use a wonderful adventure this summer , but then I realized that I'm working! There goes that pathetic excuse again :'(

It's been almost a year since my last adventure to Chicago for the Girls' World Forum and I got really nostalgic... Things like that should happen all the time. (Read about my trip here) But alas, mere peasants like myself don't get to jetset all across the globe like Ms. Aimee Song who is seriously never at home. (crazy, I know)

I suppose this summer will just have to be an adventure as a working girl. Fear not, I'll recount all my tales of enlightening children and getting them into Harvard (oh what fun!). As a result, I'll get to have loads of fun spending money on fun things and saving some too... Did I mention that I have an IRA? I think saving money is a lot of fun, actually. It makes me feel all grown up and responsible :)

In other news, I walked to the far library today. It was a really pleasant day, but the allergens here in urban-suburbia dropkicked me and left me on the ground to die, so I think I'll just stay at home forever. Yup, that's my adventure of the day.

19 June 2013

Summer Bummer

How has your summer been so far?

Aside from a crazy Father's Day weekend and a GNO on Monday, I've been left without much to do since my summer job hasn't started yet. I'm counting down the days to July 1st when I'll finally have something to do (FINALLY). This past month has been such a bore and I've been spending a lot of time playing Minecraft.

So what have you been up to? Have any exciting jetsetting summer plans that I wish I could take part in?

Fun Fact: The only other country I've been to is Canada. (life of a homebody, what can I say)

I'm looking forward to a quiet day on the beach.
Also: I'd like to learn how to surf.


14 June 2013

6 Signs of Summer on Tumblr

Summer Reads

Wow, it's Friday! That was fast.

I don't know about you, but one thing that I enjoy doing during the summer is catching up on my reading. With a bountiful surplus of daylight hours and pleasant weather to enjoy, picking up a book could never be more easy than in the summer. That being said, here is my list of Summer reads, including books that I have and have not yet read.

Summer Read (n): A piece of literature that is light in manner and easy to read without sacrificing quality of content.

Magical Thinking, Augusten Burroughs
Having recently read this, I can vouch that Augusten Burroughs' collection of true stories is honestly funny. From a too-short housemaid to a rodent in his tub, it's hard to read this without thinking that you don't seem so funny after all (in comparison). Burroughs' humor easily translates through his text and leaves a story much too funny to keep to yourself. [Goodreads]

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling
If you're a fan of The Mindy Project, or of anything Mindy Kaling has touched, you're bound to be a fan of her memoir. While reading her stories, it's inevitable to hear her voice narrate her words. Kaling's writing is humorous, personal, and very relatable: qualities that make you want the book to continue. She recounts stories from her childhood while growing up in Boston as well as her climb to success as an Off-Broadway performer and playwright to a comedy writer who gets chauffeured rides to work in avoidance of the "Rape Train." [Goodreads]


The Art Forger, B.A. Shapiro
This mystery novel follows a struggling artist who is commissioned to reproduce one of the infamously stolen artworks from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist in 1990. Claire makes a living painting reproductions of famous artworks and begins to suspect that the prized Degas in her living room may be one too. This read details the romance between an artist and his work, as well as the struggles that they face. It's fact meet fiction: art history lesson meets mystery, but this is no art history lesson you've ever dozed through. [Goodreads]

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, Therese Anne Fowler
Following the hype of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, Therese Anne Fowler paints the picture of the Fitzgerald couple from Zelda's eyes. From the first time they meet at a country club, to their wedding in St. Patrick's Cathedral, and to every new destination they set their hearts on, this is a story about being the golden couple without even trying. Jay Gatsby mirrors his maker like never before: Scott and Zelda are Jay and Daisy, and not even Jay's parties can last forever. [Goodreads]

Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
Ender's Game is easily the most under-appreciated book of our time. What was once the most popular read is now a long-forgotten science fiction that collects dust in the back of the library. With its silver screen counterpart coming out this November, I strongly urge you to read the novel first. You have plenty of time between now and November to enjoy this fantastic story set in space, and I can assure you: it's pretty damn good. Ender's Game follows Ender Wiggins, a brilliant young boy who is drafted to Battle School for military training in the war against the Buggers. Like Harry Potter, Ender is destined to end the existence of their enemies, but his loneliness and declaration as an outcast leaves him struggling to understand what he is expected to do. [Goodreads]

If none of these reads provoke any interest in you, then I suggest heading over to the beloved NYT Bestsellers List or the Guardian's List of 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read. Both are fantastic resources for every reader and I have made it my mission to read a good chunk of that 1000 books. Otherwise, I do enjoy a good re-read of childhood classics, namely Harry Potter.

Please don't end up reading chick-lits and teen drama-romance novels. Please, I beg of you.

Happy Reading!

12 June 2013

Shopping Cart: Warby Parker

Jasper in Orange Fizz
Hello, New York City! How are you guys enjoying today's weather? Mr. Sun finally decided to peek out from the clouds after days of dreary rain and cloud cover, but he won't be out for long: tomorrow's forecast includes a 100% chance of rain (boo!).

With summer in full swing, it's important to protect yourself while out and about on a sunny day. This applies not only to wearing sunscreen (which yes, you should be wearing), but to wearing sunglasses and protecting your eyes as well. No, sunnies aren't just a fashionable accessory to hide your gaze behind and protect you from the eyes of onlookers. As a matter of fact, exposing your eyes on an accumulation of glaringly sunny days can contribute to Cataracts and other eye conditions (NYT).

So in an attempt to prevent you from developing early-onset Cataracts, get a pair of sunglasses stat. My brand of choice is the ever-wonderful Warby Parker, an eyewear retailer that is heavily seasoned with social entrepreneurship spices. Like TOMS, for every pair of glasses purchased (prescription & non-prescription), WP provides an additional pair for someone in need.

If WP's golden heart of giving won't sell you, then you probably haven't seen their fantastic collection of glasses and sunglasses, which can be purchased with or without prescription lenses. Warby Parker gets a 5-star rating for customer service in my book, and I would choose a WP pair over Ray-Bans any day. Plus, at an affordable $95 price, you can afford to buy a different pair for every day of the summer.

Everett in Bellini

Robinson in Revolver Black Matte
For the Guys: Rutherford in Brushed Granite

10 June 2013

iOS 7

Did you watch the live broadcast of Apple's Keynote this morning? I hope you did, it was really great. But if you didn't, you can watch it here in full-length.

I tuned in just as they were introducing iOS 7, so here is my iOS 7 Top 5:
1. Siri can be a male! And can speak French! and German!
2. AirDrop is an easy new way to share photos (among other things) with your nearby pals "without having to go around the room 'bumping' people"
3. Photos are now categorized in "moments" which is two steps up from uncategorized photos intermingling with each other
4. Apple took a page from Spotify and Pandora with iTunes Radio, from which you can directly purchase a song that you like, as well as create your own stations just as you can on Spotify
5. Control Center is incredibly accessible and features a built-in flashlight as well as volume, Do Not Disturb, and Airplane Mode controls

iOS 7 will be available to users this Fall (CAN'T WAIT! CAN YOU TELL I'M EXCITED?)

I'm also anticipating the new Macbook Air (!!!) which is in the running for acquisition along with the new iPad. Also: the iPhone 5s is coming in colors and has a slightly bigger screen than the 5 without super-sizing the device like our Samsung friends are known to do.

09 June 2013

How to Spend Your Next Paycheck: A Guide on Spending Every Cent You Earn

Just got paid? Excellent.
Feeling rich and can't wait to cash in your paycheck and roll around in Benjamins? Hold that thought.

1. Take your total income, and multiply it by .3: that's how much you're going to save. Put half aside into a savings account (I use Ally) and the other half into your Roth IRA. Don't have one? Get one. You'll thank me later (Much later).

2. Pay your bills: Phone, credit card, rent, all that jazz.

3. Buy enough food to last you two weeks/ Budget how much you'll need to feed yourself until you get paid next

4. Indulge in e-commerce. Some things I'm eyeing:

1. Saturday by Kate Spade Bibbed Perfect Day Shirt; 2. Rebecca Minkoff Craig Camera Bag; 3. Botkier Honoré Crossbody; 4. Freda Salvador See in Chestnut

06 June 2013

Cures for a "Meh" Kind of Day

1. Food: Whatever you're craving. Seamless was created for a reason. Go for it, order that whole cheesecake: you deserve it.

2. ...I can't think of anything else that you can directly control.

But yes, food. The one and only panacea for every day of the week.

I'm going to go make some cake.

02 June 2013

Tools for an Excellent Day

It's a summery Sunday and I am stranded in "happening" Queens where I live across the street from Nicki Minaj's house and regularly visit the world-class museums down the street. (Just kidding, I do not live across the street from Nicki Minaj and there are no museums in my part of town)

Seeing that I've been spending a lot of time at home because a) I have nowhere to go, and b) no money to do things, I've drafted what would make for an excellent day in Julia-land...

  1. An Excellent Cup of Coffee: The best coffee that I've ever had was in South Hadley. Thirsty Mind's Caramel Lattés are juice for the Gods. They are smooth, not too sweet, at a perfect temperature, and taste more perfect than any Starbucks or Rao's caramel latté I've ever had. However, I once had a really good soy caramel latté from Starbucks but my subsequent one tasted nasty. Thirsty Mind gets it right every time. EVERY TIME, ladies and gents.

  2. Excellent Weather: After careful consideration, I've concluded that my perfect summer temperature is 82 degrees. However, anything between 74 and 85 would qualify as excellent weather, given that there are no T-storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, or nor'easters to ruin my day.
  3. A Good Ensemble: I say "good" because "great" ensembles are meant for galas, nights on the town, fancy parties, and all that jazz. I find that it's a general rule to wear a "good" outfit on the reg. Good ensembles are comfortable, make you happy, and make you feel good. They're not too casual but not flashy or high-maintenance. It's an outfit that you can throw on and know that you look good without having to look in the mirror.
  4. A Comfortable Train Ride: My favorite thing about taking the train is that I always use that time to read (unless I'm accompanied by a friend in which case that would be terribly rude). As much as I enjoy reading, whenever I do so during my free time, I feel as if I had wasted the day reading. That being said, I really enjoy reading while travelling by bus or by train because I don't have to set aside time to read, and commutes to the city are a good hour long. So yes, a comfortable train ride in a sparsely crowded car with proper temperatures, and a good book. I really like the E train.
  5. Memorable Food: Whether it's a tea-time snack at Rose House, an excellent meal at a favorite restaurant, the best Cobb salad you've ever had, or any delicious dessert, good food is a key characteristic of a really good day. One of the best feelings is consuming something that is so good that you can't stop thinking about it for longer than you'd be willing to admit. 
  6. Good Company: I could do any combination of things on my own, but being able to spend some quality time with a friend is always A+. I especially enjoy sharing meals with someone which is something that I learned to appreciate while at Mount Holyoke. Meals were a time where you didn't have to worry about a bill and could catch up with old friends over good food. As long as I can take the train by myself, I'm as happy as a clam.
  7. A Quality Purchase: Of course, this isn't a necessity for an excellent day, but that one item that you just can't stop obsessing over and looks great on you is something that you definitely need to snatch up. This item is something that you don't typically find everyday. It's a quality item, can be a little pricey, but it makes you smile and feel fantastic. However, it can't be overshadowed by many purchases because it will seem less special amongst your collection of new acquisitions.