Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Yacht Club

Our friend Tom is such a Southern gentleman that when we announced we were engaged, he insisted on taking us out to dinner to celebrate. Flash forward four months later, he suggested that we go to the restaurant at the Yacht Club. The restaurant is not open to the public, but since Tom's dad is a member (no, he does not have a yacht), we were able to see a part of New York City that few people get to see.

The club is housed in a beautiful old historical Beaux-Arts building that was created by the same guys who designed the exterior of Grand Central Station. The restaurant looks like it is the inside of a ship. Upstairs is a huge room filled with hundreds of model boats.

Tom and me.

Tom let me invite a friend, so I brought along Heather who is always up for some food and boats.

Heather loves the boats.

So does Dan.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yvonne in real life.

If I were a celebrity, I don't think I would do well in those candid "Just Like US" photos in US Weekly.

Adam took this picture of me during Backstock. Don't I look like the saddest little Polish girl that ever stood in a doughnut shop?

And this one, taken by Courtney, is just priceless. I think I am yawning without covering my mouth which is what I do sometimes (my mom HATES it). Now I see why. Either that or something special really caught my eye. Paparazzi?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Winner

As always, I won the Oscar pool this year.

I beat Dan, like I always do which means that he's going to buy me a DVD of my choice. We watched at Kim and Nien's apartment, where they held a party. Kim wore an Oscar dress and the best-picture nominee themed menu included the best "frosted Nixon" cookies I ever had: Vanilla frosted cookies with Nixon's face stenciled in red sprinkles. I tied for first place from everyone who was there!

I voted mostly Slumdog Millionaire which I did think was a great movie and deserved to win. But the movie that no one is talking about (but apparently eating) was Frost/Nixon which I think was one of the best this year. I recommend you see both if you haven't already.

I absolutely adored the opening number presented by Hugh Jackman. This kind of old-school song and dance number is the reason why I love musicals. It reminds me of an old Gene Kelly movie. And Anne Hathaway singing was a pleasant surprise.

In case this doesn't work, go here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ham Trend-setting

Bill Cunningham reports that everyone at at this week's NY Fashion Week is wearing gray.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Brett and Emily are vacationing in New York City this week, which means only means one thing: Backstock. The t-shirts were ordered, the bag of chaos devised, Courtney flew in from Minnesota. But this turned out to be no Jackstock Part Two. Blame the cold weather, people feeling under the weather, or the fear that we would never come close to the awesomeness of our first spectacular event. Eventually, we just forgoed the bag and just spent time doing what we like best: hanging out and eating a ton. And you know what? We had just as much fun.

Here are some (not all) of the things we did over the last few days:

Dan and I finally have our first taste of Doughnut Plant's gourmet treats. Not the most healthy way to start the day, but I'd say the vanilla-flavored was pretty spectacular.

We had the awesome opportunity to see the first cut of Adam's film, with commentary from the director/writer himself. I am super proud of him and think the movie looks amazing. He is going to become a star! Dan is helping Adam select music for the film.

Because we weren't full enough from bagels and doughnuts, we went out for some chicken wings. Here's Dan, Brett (nice stripes) and Courtney.

Brett and Emily go Swiss on us and show us how to fondue. I cut the bread and made a bread mountain.

We wait in line for some burgers and shakes at Shake Shack on the Upper West Side. Emily was much happier about it than this picture implies.

We went to the Museum of Natural History and split into teams (boys against girls) and took portraits of each other using the museum as our canvas. Most of the rooms were really dark and crowded and so I searched for the light. This is my favorite picture I took of Nell by the window overlooking the park.

Nell took this cool one of me, going face to face with a scary mask.

We all took the Myers Briggs personality test to find out our personality types. Does it surprise anyone that I scored as being 100% introverted? (By the way, I took the test with everyone and then a similiar one a few months ago on a Facebook application called MyType Personality and was deemed two different personalities. I compared the two, and I am definitely more the Confidant (INFJ). I am interested to know what you are. (Use the Facebook test if you have access--it is more detailed).

Here are Courtney's better-than-mine pics from the weekend.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dan cooks!

"You are going to have the culinary experience of a lifetime."

This is what Dan tells me before making me Valentine's Day dinner (a day early).

I was pretty impressed when Dan volunteered to make me dinner for Valentine's Day. He never cooks anything--or me, for him, for anybody.

The fact that he came home with a bag full of groceries was already cause for amazement. Dan knows where the grocery store is?

Dan didn't want no easy dinner either. I tried to offer some ideas for no fail meals and he dissed them and picked his own recipe.

His recipe called for fennel. I have never cooked with fennel in my life. This was seduction at its absolute best.

Dan handled himself pretty well in the kitchen, chopping, cutting, grating like I have never seen him do. He peeled the carrots with his favorite kitchen device, the one I never use, the one we bought a few years ago from this guy.

He worked very hard, literally RUNNING between the kitchen and his computer, trying to get everything ready on time. The recipe was supposed to take 30 minutes, but it took him an hour. I tried not to stare too much at this sight I never do see. But there it was--Dan cooking! He never looked more handsome!

At 9:45 pm, dinner was ready. He made a Giada recipe: Roasted halibut with grapefruit fennel with a shaved carrot and pear salad with curry vinaigrette. Fancy, right? It was really good!

For dessert, we had a brownie (from a bakery) and then when I tried to clean the kitchen afterward, Dan STOPPED me and did it himself.

This guy knows what he's doing. He's the best Valentine. I love Dan.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

50 States List

[image from Travel Blog]

I realized that if my wedding won't take place this year, that means my honeymoon won't take place this year. I know I should be saving money for my wedding and I should be saving money because of this crazy economy, but really, does this mean I'm not traveling anywhere this year? That's just so...depressing.

I went to the Budget Travel web site and read this: "If you really want to save in 2009—and help to revive a sagging domestic economy—travel within the United States." Perhaps it's a year for staying local? It's always been a dream of mine to visit all 50 United States, which made me curious how many states I have actually been to before.

So I made a list. This list does not account for any states that I simply drove through or had an airport layover. I needed to have spent at least one day there. Here it is:


California: Believe it's been six times already, maybe more, including trips to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Visalia, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Gilroy, San Jose, Anaheim, Carmel and other places that I can't remember. I always loved California as a child because my favorite uncle lived there and I always hoped I would live there someday. I almost went to University of Southern California--well not really, I wanted to go to USC but it wasn't realistic. It is nice that it turned out that my fiance is from the state (and went to USC), so my life will always be connected there. People from New York City aren't supposed to like Los Angeles, but I like Los Angeles because I don't expect it to be anything like New York. I am scared of that highway in LA that has 10 lanes of traffic. I didn't do well there. San Francisco is probably more my style but I don't feel as connected to the city as I did when I was young. I would still consider living on the west coast, but I think I might be too "east coast" now. Seriously. I am laid back, but I am not California laid back. I do like avocados.
Colorado: Denver, for business trip. It was May and it snowed. It seemed like two people lived there.
: Multiple times to visit my friend Lindsey. We always went shopping in Greenwich and New Haven. And of course, Mystic, for a wedding.
: (drove through, doesn't count)
District of Columbia
: Been here many, many times that I lost count. Some trips with the family every time we had Polish visitors, and then I spent a semester at American University and the summer between junior and senior year of college interning there. It's the place I met Dan, but I will always associate Washington with my ex-boyfriend because he went to college there and he's the reason why I went so often. I used to run before living in DC, but it's the place where I became "a runner." I still have great memories of my runs there. I mean, it's pretty awesome to be like, "I am going to run to the Lincoln Memorial today."
Florida: Orlando, in first grade. We drove there from NJ. It took 2 days. I wrote a book report about it. And judging from the photographs, I carried a Cabbage Patch Kid doll with me the entire time.
: Atlanta, twice for business trips. Didn't see much of anything, but through work, I met an author named Richard Bausch who made me laugh a lot.
Hawaii: Maui, with my friend Stacy and her parents after high school graduation. She got to pick a friend to come with her and she picked me. Pretty kick ass, right? One my favorite trips.
: Been to Chicago many times during last five years, for fun and not. I have bad work memories of staying at suburban hotels overlooking mall parking lots. But then I have good memories of cupcake crawls and Dan and Jacey's wedding and seeing The Oprah Show twice. Everyone always says New York and Chicago are alike, but every time I walk down Michigan Avenue it seems like nearly everyone is white and American and looks exactly the same. It makes me feel culture shock. I am sure I am just not looking in the right places.


: New Orleans, baby! Twice! I do love the city. I have been to many places in America and they can kind of blend together, but New Orleans is extra special and different from the rest. Dan wants to move there very badly but if I feel I am too east coast for California, you bet I am too east coast for the South. They might kill my Yankee self over there.
Maine: (drove through, doesn't count)
Maryland: Never been to Baltimore, but I did spend a semester at American University which is technically in Maryland. So I lived in Maryland for four months. There was a street nearby the university called Quebec Street that had the most charming houses and I used to walk there sometimes and wished that could be my life.
: Boston, my dream city for a long time. I really wanted to go to college there (even more than LA), but the two of us were not meant to be. Now, I don't care to live there anymore but I sometimes wonder what if I did.

: Went on a two-day, one-night business trip to Minneapolis, which included a trip to Marshall Fields before they all became Macy's. I was impressed by all the underground tunnels between the stores.
: Kansas City, for a business trip. People seemed bigger there. Nice. But bigger.
Nevada: The first time I went to Vegas with my parents I was 10 and was bored out of my mind. The second time I went with my job and got to dress up like Liza. It was a blast. And then there was a third trip to Lake Tahoe for Lindsey's wedding.
New Hampshire: Dan and I dreamed of a vacation where we'd stay at a bed and breakfast by a lake. We found it, loved it and plan to go back in the winter so we can snowshoe across the pond when it freezes over.
New Jersey
: My first home state! I will always love the New Jersey shore--any beach, no matter how cheesy.
New Mexico

New York
: My second home state. Including Syracuse and NYC, been living here for over 10 years now. I will never live upstate ever again. I could live never seeing Niagara Falls again. My mom took me three times as a child.
North Carolina
: I went to the High Point Furniture Show for work, which if you are not in the home business, is the place where twice a year, furniture companies come together and announce their new lines. I was checked out. I barely remember anything about it and it was not that long ago.
North Dakota

Pennsylvania: Went to Philadelphia last fall; Amish Country to see a Cracker concert and record stores; Saylorsburg (in the middle of nowhere--it's a nice nowhere) where my sister lives; close-to-Delaware Water Gap bike rides with my brother and dad. It's a bigger state than you would expect. We used to drive through PA to get to Syracuse and we were always in PA for a very long time.
Rhode Island
: (drove through, doesn't count)
South Carolina: Charleston, for business. Worked the whole time, but scouted the city during a peaceful early morning run.
South Dakota


: Dallas, for business. Everyone had a fancy car there.
: Bryce Canyon, with parents, 10 years old.
: This barely counts but Dan and I took a day trip to Quechee Gorge and Woodstock when we did our New Hampshire trip.
: When I interned in Washington, I technically lived in Roslyn, VA. I went hiking in Shenandoah National Park, which was gorgeous.

West Virginia

23 states so far. Not bad, right?

I have some ideas where I want to go, but if you were me, where would you go next?

(Remember: Dan will be more apt to come if the place has
1. record stores 2. Cracker concerts 3. gambling opportunities 4. reasonable excuse to go (like, if he came up with the idea).

Whatever, we can convince Dan later. Give me inspiration.

Back to solids.

Mealtime last 24 hours.


Ginger ale and saltines.

More ginger ale and saltines.

Small bowl of cereal with milk.

Half a bowl of oatmeal.

Even more ginger ale and saltines.

Bagel with butter.


By the gurgling noises coming from my stomach, it doesn't sound to be going down very smoothly, but so far, everything is okay. The apple was a scary leap. But it turned out okay. I went to work today. I am ready for protein.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Annette is a star!

I told you all that my sister Annette is an animal officer in Pennsylvania and might be featured on a few episodes of Animal Cops Philadelphia on Animal Planet. Well in the midst of my sick day I watched the episode that aired last night, and Annette was on it--big time! She and her team rescued three abandoned dogs, and she had a huge speaking part, talking about how frail and skinny the dogs were. The dogs got better and were adopted and placed in homes! My sister is a hero!

I can't find it online but the episode is called "Rescued Just in Time." Check it out. It's actually really fascinating, and I can't believe that this is how my sister spends her days. The show airs Monday nights at 10pm ET.


This entry may border on TMI (too-much-information) but I wanted to let you all know that I went home from work today sick with the stomach flu. This merits attention because this is the first time I have thrown up in like twenty years.

I am not joking.

My last case of projectile vomiting happened when I was like 10 years old at the funeral home where we went to see the body of my twenty-something cousin--also named Yvonne--who tragically died in a car accident. I did not know Yvonne very well, but I remember feeling a little strange before we left the house, and I remember this full stomach feeling and needing to go outside constantly for fresh air. On top of all this, I cried like a baby. I was so traumatized by this dead person with my name. When we were close to leaving, the feeling came over me and I dashed down the stairs trying to run into the bathroom but didn't make it. So I threw up all over the floor, spewing in all sorts of directions, like little kids do, until someone grabbed my shoulders and thrust me into the bathroom and over the toilet.

Throwing up was a horrible feeling, one I never wanted to experience again. And I might be wrong, but I don't think I did for twenty years. Sure, I had a few bouts of vomit. The first time I flew by myself on an airplane, I threw up outside on the pavement before we went into the terminal. That was more like a mouthful of crap, like I was making a big spit or something. In college, a medication I took made me dry heave for a few hours. But that is all I can think of. Even when I drank alcohol during college or my first years in New York, I never puked. Ever. Sure, I felt bad sometimes but feeling bad was so much better than chucking it and I would try to will it away and did so successfully.

My brother Pete, on the other hand, seemed to get the stomach bug once a year when we lived in the same house. I remember the days where he stayed closed up in his room, in his red and black checked flannel pajamas, my grandmother tip toeing around him, trying to take care of him the best she could. I would avoid my brother like the plague during his yearly illness and a few days after, terrified I would get the bug, too. I never did.

And then today. I woke up early for a morning run in Central Park. And my stomach kind of hurt, but no biggie. I watched a beautiful rose-colored sunrise framing the Manhattan skyline and it was wondrous. My nausea increased when I went to work. I sat down in my boss's office and told her I didn't feel well, but don't worry, I never throw up.

Around noon, my concentration was shot especially since I began visiting the bathroom very 10 minutes and walking back to my desk I felt that oh-so-familiar-after-all-those-years fullness in my stomach. I took a cab home. Popped an Immodium in my mouth and then proceeded to throw up my breakfast. Luckily, I was close range to a toilet and even though I have little experience, I figured out how to aim properly this time.

And so I am home sick. Horribly, horribly sick with a fever on top. Pete in his pajamas sick, with no grandma to dab a wet towel on my head. It's just as bad as I remembered it. Dan stopped by before his poker game to drop me off some Pepto, saltines and ginger ale. I think my illness came from the Chinese food we ate last night, the place where Dan insists we eat from about once a week, even though I don't really like Chinese. Scared that we may never order from there again, Dan tells me he will eat my leftovers to prove me wrong. That it wasn't the Chinese. That I got sick some other way.

I like no way, dude.

Worse than me being sick is to take care of Dan when he gets sick. Do you think he would let me go to some poker game? Hells no. He turns into an invalid when he gets a cough. I don't get sick all that often, so I hope it's another 20 years until I feel this way again. Help me will it away. And more importantly, hopefully Dan will not catch the bug either.

UPDATE: I learned today that my mom, Pete and Annette are also sick....which means that we probably got sick during mom's birthday dinner. Dan's reply to this discovery: DON'T THROW OUT THE CHINESE FOOD!

Monday, February 9, 2009

The mole.

When it comes to my mom, when something works, something stays. That's way, year after year, my mom bakes the same cheesecake at every family function, goes to the same casino in Atlantic City every few months, dyes her hair the same color of reddish brown. If she liked it the first time, she's going to like it forever.

Which is why, for my mom's 62nd birthday, it was a no brainer to do the same thing we did last year: make her home cooked dinner.

My sister Annette planned the menu, and in a sister-cooking-school-like fashion, I helped her create very delicious Chicken Cordon Bleu, Salisbury Steaks, Mashed Red Potatoes with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese, and Green Bean Caesar. Sister-in-law Jen brought a yummy salad and strawberries and dip. And of course I was in charge of desserts, making by my mom's request, a raspberry cheesecake (big surprise, she liked it before, she wanted it again) and another mom stand-by: a pumpkin cake. ("You mean the cake that no one likes except your mom?" Dan asked me the other day. Well, it's HER birthday.)

Here's Annette making the chicken.

This year turned out a little different because we had my little grand-niece Audrey there, with her mom Tiffany and dad, Greg. And while last year, Dillon was so well behaved and cute, this year, he still had the cute factor going for him but caught with a bad case of the terrible two's. So he spent most of the evening looking something like this:

It's a little blurry but that's Tiffany's hand with fork trying to feed him some chicken. That's my brother Pete saying anything to get him to eat it like, "I talked to our dog Gizmo and he said you should try it." And that's Dillon saying "NO! NO! NO! I DON'T LIKE IT!" (no matter what Gizmo says!)

This went on for a good half-hour or so, Tiffany wanting him to take just ONE bite, him irrationally crying, Pete irrationally coaxing. Finally it was decided that since Dillon ate no dinner, he would get no dessert.

But you know how it goes: Dillon wanted dessert. (I mean, who doesn't want dessert?)

Pete with the cheesecake.

But his parents were firm: No dessert. The rest of us--lucky for us--had eaten our dinners, so we ate our dessert. From Dillon's corner, there was more crying. And more pouting. And more whining. Then there was silence. And then all of a sudden, Dillon popped up from under the table with a giant piece of pumpkin cake in hand, icing licked off!

How did that happen? How did he get the cake?

We looked around the table to see where he could have gotten it. The cake platter was in the center of the table, so there was no way he could have reached for a piece without anyone noticing. I remembered I left a few slices in the kitchen, so I ran in there to see if that is where he grabbed it, but no, all the cake was still there. Was there a mole in our midst?

Finally, Tiffany asked him, "Dillon, where did you get the cake?"


Babsia means Grandma in Polish and that's what everyone calls my Mom--which would mean my mom was the one who did it! Had the birthday girl really given in?

"It wasn't me!" my mom said. "I swear, it wasn't me!"

As my mom tried to defend her innocence, and we debated how this could have happened, I watched, in the midst of this commotion, my stepfather Ted quietly walk over to Dillon and give him the piece of cake AGAIN.

And so the culprit was caught. We know who the real Babsia is.

Dillon (with Jen) gets his cake. (I guess there is someone else who likes that cake beside my mom).

The birthday girl and the kiddies.