odds and ends

Here are some odds and ends that might not otherwise make it onto the blog. Upon further review this list might be slightly self-focused. So skip the entry if you’re not into reading useless details about someone else’s existence. I won’t hold it against you.

  • It’s finally summer – the rain has mostly stopped, it’s hot and muggy, the sun is shining. It makes me very happy.
  • Kev’s just getting over some kind of flu bug that hit him hard over the weekend. He’s feeling a bit better today. Also, I love him.
  • I miss my mom. She’s nice and she smells nice.
  • I just ate a most enjoyable organic lunch involving avocados, hummus and rice pudding. There was more to it than that, but those were the highlights. I always feel noticeably different after eating a whole, sustainable meal, as opposed to one that’s not. It can be time consuming to find healthy, natural foods to eat, but when I’m able to make it happen I’m always glad. 
  • Speaking of food, Kevin and I are trying – oh for the eight hundredth time – to grocery shop and eat the food we buy. What a simple concept! Why is it next to impossible for us to accomplish this? Maybe it’s this City of Amazing Take Out Food, which makes it entirely too easy to keep only ketchup in one’s fridge. Or maybe it’s how genuinely busy Kevin and I are these days, often spending time in our apartment only during the hours we’re sleeping. I’m quick to assume it’s because I’m lazy and bad with my money. But I’m not! I’m really not! Also, a trip home from the grocery store in New York City is a cardio and weight training workout rolled into one.
  • I will leave the office this Thursday at 3pm and I won’t return for almost a week. YES. I’m really looking forward to the break. I have no real plans other than to avoid work of any kind unless it’s exercise (or maybe housework because come on, our apartment is a mess).
  • Even though I haven’t really regarded him on any level for several years now, I miss Michael Jackson.
  • I am a daydream fanatic these days; everything I see leads me to yearn for, miss or wonder about something else. I want to be on a boat in a river or a lake in the Midwest. I want to go swimming. I want to be on a vacation with my mom. I want to have a car to drive around to shops and markets. I want to go see movies. I want to have a picnic outside while listening to a symphony. I want to live in California. I want to live in London. I don’t even like London. I’m a weirdo. What I have is really nice too, but these are my inner workings. They like to daydream.
  • The cats are adorable and also very hot in their fur outfits these days. The little one chirps and squeaks and squawks all day long. She loves to be pet and to nuzzle heads.
  • Sitting in the back part of the office at my desk job is relatively awesome and I can see windows from where I sit and it’s great. Sometimes my boss surprises me with how mean he is. Sometimes he surprises me with how nice he is.
  • I need a new bathing suit.
  • I like to shop at big department stores.
  • I miss my cousin Trisha and her twitter updates make me laugh. I wish we lived closer to each other.
  • I love going to the PIT on Wednesday nights.
  • I just reread Animal Farm for a project HST is doing later this summer. When I read it originally, I was probably 14 years old and I was visiting New York City for the first time. My grandmother and mother discovered (through coercion) that I was to have the book read for a school assignment due a few days later and I hadn’t even started it yet. So I had to stay behind and read it one night while most everyone else went to see a play. That sucked. What a sad book. I finished my reread a few days ago and now I miss the Animals, especially Boxer who was such a good guy.
  • It seems like I miss a lot of things. I’m a sucker for that nostalgic feeling.
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daily dessert

Please pardon the less than appealing photo. I bought this yogurt smoothie while running errands on my lunch break yesterday. When I hopped on the subway to head back to the office, I discovered that I was drinking the thing so quickly (because it was delicious) that if I didn’t snap a grainy blackberry picture right away, there’d be nothing left to photograph. As it was, it required great discipline to pry myself away from it for the 12 seconds it took me to find my blackberry.

The smoothie was from Red Mango. Of all the new frozen yogurt places popping up lately, Red Mango is my favorite. I’m not sure why I prefer them above some of the others, but I do.

(Speaking of frozen yogurt, remember the TCBY craze of the 80’s? Why didn’t speciality frozen yogurt shops take off then? Now you can’t walk a block without finding one. It’s strange how things like that happen. What’s popular today might not have had a chance in the market twenty years ago. A slightly crazy lady I met on Sunday in Williamsburg told me, while shaking her leg and chain smoking cigarettes, that she invented a recipe for dairy-free cheesecakes fifteen years ago that people really loved. She almost had to fist fight someone over the recipe, her friend Lenny Kravitz promised to star in commercials for the cheesecakes because he loved them so much that he got excited – yes, like that – when he ate them, and she was a single mom with three kids, but she’d stay up until 4am baking her cakes. She couldn’t keep up with all the orders. Ultimately however, she was ahead of her time and the world wasn’t ready for her dairy-free cheesecakes, she said. Fifteen years ago, who cared about dairy-free. And now, people want dairy-free everything. They’re gonna come knocking on her door, she said. And she’s gonna be ready. She’s gonna shock everybody. Maybe I believed every word she said.)

My smoothie was something Red Mango calls a “blender.” I rarely, if ever, order milkshakes or smoothies but I needed some lunch and nothing sounded appealing. It was too hot outside for real food and at 250 calories this was the perfect solution. They let you select your ingredients – I chose original flavor frozen yogurt and I added blueberries (a superfood!), raspberries and dark chocolate chips. I loved it. I will be getting it again.

daily dessert

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I didn’t post a daily dessert for Saturday! Whhhaaaat?!

I baked all day long that day. It was fun and exhausting and I didn’t stop handling sweets until 3am. And then there was cleaning up and decompressing to do before I could sleep, so I got in bed a good hour later. Yikes. But after spending all day Sunday sitting in the hot sun at a flea market, I went to bed at 10pm last night and slept like a rock. It was fantastic.

I didn’t really eat much to begin with on Saturday, so I guess my dessert that day was a variety of sweets that I sampled as I baked. You know, to make sure they weren’t poisionous.

Before I got in bed last night, I made a brilliant decision. As a reward for working my butt off all weekend long, I bought myself one of my own packaged wares – the chewy chocolate graham bar – and I ate the whole entire thing while laying in my pajamas on my couch. It was to die for. Those bars are probably my favorite Fanny & Jane sweet, but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a full-sized one all by myself. It was heavenly and I realize I’m biased, but you guys, they are decadently delicious.

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daily dessert

Yesterday was a rather odd day for me in terms of eating. I had weird meals at odd times including a bunch of delicious pizza at like 3am. The only true dessert I ate yesterday was a scrumptious handful of dark chocolate covered pretzels from Trader Joe’s. I love the salty/sweet union of chocolate covered pretzels and these were the perfect snack. I chomped them down while waiting for the elevator on my way out of work for the day.

I’m so glad it’s the weekend. It’s a busy one! I’m baking like a crazy person in preparation for the Williamsburg Flea Market tomorrow, but baking is so relaxing and enjoyable for me that I don’t mind a bit. Plus, the radio stations are all playing Michael Jackson hits. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday…

the williamsburg flea market

flea

After a fun and successful evening making our public debut at the PIT on Wednesday, Faryn and I are busy busy busy right now as we prepare for our next Fanny & Jane adventure – we’re selling sweets at the Williamsburg Flea Market on Sunday!

Our good friend, Marina, who lives in Williamsburg, found out about this flea market a few weeks ago and wrote a little entry about it on her beautiful blog. Faryn read the entry, did some googling, put things into motion and within the hour, the gentleman organizing the flea market had invited us to join them! Thanks, Marina. And great work, Faryn.

I’m so excited about this because it’s been a short term goal of ours to have a table at an outdoor market somewhere in the city. We’ve figured it would be a great way to meet customers and colleagues, and to get the word out about our company as we’re still building the business. Plus, it sounds like a really pleasant way to spend a Sunday. I’m looking forward to checking out the other vendors and maybe picking up some sweet flea market deals.

So, if you’re in the ‘hood on Sunday, come say hello! We’ll be offering our signature cake bites, but we’ll also be debuting some different delicious treats.

Pray for sunshine.

This Sunday
10am-6pm
Wythe Ave. between S. 2nd and S. 3rd St.
Williamsburg

payday

photo by Caitie McCabe

I am very pleased to present you with this month’s payday. This is Chris Grace. Chris is an improviser, rugby player, teacher, stand-up comedian, podcast-creator, video-maker, Chipotle-lover (right, Chris?), web-tech-er and cat dad. And I think that might just be the first half of the list.

I remember seeing Chris Grace perform improv when I first started hanging out at the PIT five years ago. He’s one of the funniest, most capable improvisers I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch and I think I speak for many of the performers who’ve come through the PIT when I say that we’ve all learned a lot by watching him play. He makes it look really easy. (And it’s not always that easy.)

I’ve never seen him play rugby, do stand-up comedy or hang out with his cats, but my guess is that he’s pretty good at that stuff too. Aside from his status as a renaissance man, he’s also very nice, quick to laugh and is a great conversationalist.

You can see Chris perform on Wednesday nights at the PIT, with his team, The Faculty. And you should visit his website where you can find his videos, podcasts, newsletters, Twitter, info about upcoming shows and an up to the minute local weather report. (Nah, there’s no weather report. But there could be.) I have recently become a fan of his podcasts which are silly, sometimes rambling, sometimes very informative and always interesting.

So as I’ve been motivated by a recent push he’s made in his life to generate more creative content this year than he ever has before, I wanted to ask him the payday questions. He maintains a desk job while he does SO MUCH other stuff with his life and that alone is inspiring.

Here are his answers to the payday questions. It’s a good one, you guys. Enjoy the read:

1. How do you earn a paycheck?
I make some of my money from teaching improv and commercials, but I make the rent as a deskbound web developer.

2. Do you enjoy what you do to earn a paycheck?
I like web work, and it’s cool that I get paid for it, but it’s really just a hobby of mine that happened to be a job. I’ve done it for long enough to know that it’s not a passion of mine. On top of that, the place I currently work is a soulstomping bureaucracy.

3. How did you get the job?
Through an online friend. She needed an assistant and I submitted my resume. This is back when online friends didn’t try to murder you.

4. Did you go to college and if so, what did you study? I got a theater degree. I’m not sure if I would do this again in retrospect… some of the training has been useful, but I’m still paying it off, and I’m not sure if the skills I got there couldn’t have been learned here in New York or simply through experience (without 15 years of student loan payments to follow).

5. If you could have any job in the whole entire world, assuming you’d instantly, miraculously possess the the training, opportunities, and expertise to excel at it, what would you do? Ack. That sound you just heard was some minor explosion of anxiety inside of me at the thought of choosing between being a Los Angeles Laker, late night talk show host, or starting flyhalf for a World Cup-winning rugby team. Of course, most of the time I avoid that anxiety because two of those options are wholly impossible, based on the current state of my… body.

6. If you didn’t have to earn a living – money was no object, but you had to be productive for 8 hours a day, what would you do?
I would create things… films, plays, stories, clubs, communities, meals.

7. What are your hobbies and interests?
Aside from performing, which in the end I consider more of a career than hobby, I love sports (basketball and rugby in particular), technology, video games, and food. I think the big interest that is the umbrella for everything is that I am really interested in learning.

8. How do you spend your free time?
I either noodle around eating, napping, and playing games while I think about being productive, or I get stuff done creating things while in the back of my mind I look forward to noodling.

9. What do/did your parents or guardians do to earn livings?
My dad was a nuclear engineer and my mom helped him run some of their independent businesses, which included a grocery store, a few restaurants, and a mobile home park.

10. What was the conversation or climate surrounding work and work ethic in your home when you were growing up?
“When you come home at the end of a day of working, you should be so tired that you only have energy to collapse into bed.” I have both incorporated and fought against this my entire life. My dad often substituted working long hours for working smart. That said, I do think a consistent application of work and practice is invaluable for developing skills. But I feel the idea that success is “earned” through sweat equity is sometimes dangerous in the amount of judgment and resentment you carry around when people get ahead of you. I don’t think it’s useful to see people’s ups and downs through the perception of who deserves what based on how many dues they have paid. I think this reverence for “hard work” also leads people like me to abhor self-promotion, with the idea that you just do your best and wait to get noticed. That’s one of the traits that I’m consciously working to change in myself.

11. How does your family feel about how you earn a living today?
My mom would definitely like me to succeed on a creative level, I’m pretty sure she’s indifferent to the jobs I do just to get by. My dad for some reason doesn’t think my web job is stable or something and keeps asking me to live with him in South Carolina while I get a computer science degree and find a girl to marry. There are at least four things wrong with that idea.

12. Do you have siblings and if so, what do they do for a living? Do you have a personal reaction to what they do, like maybe you’re envious or inspired?
One of my sisters is a television news reporter in Houston, the other works in alumni fundraising at a college, and my brother does IT work. I figure we’re all pretty good reliable people and on some level we each found a groove that keeps the lights on.

13. Generally, what time do you go to sleep? What time do you wake up?
I go to sleep around 1 am and get up about 8:45. I’m specifically trying to do 1:10 to 8:40 to keep things in 90-minute increments, which I heard is your natural sleep cycle. I have no credibility in this department because I basically just do whatever I read on web sites. For example, I just bought a bottle of pills called “Wake Up On Time” because it had a picture of a rooster on it.

14. Do you want to leave your current job for something different? If so, can you imagine yourself doing this? If so, will you do it?
I’d like to quit this job and make my living fulltime from creative efforts. My plan is to do this next summer (2010) after I’m out of debt. If we get universal health care before that it might happen sooner, but I’m not holding my breath.

15. What is more important to you in a job? a big paycheck or personal fulfillment.
Fulfillment. Simply put, I want to wake up looking forward to my day.

16. Do you think your idea of personal success has changed since you entered the work force?
No, I pretty much always knew these day jobs were not the end goal. For a few years I lost sight of what I really wanted to do but my focus is sharp these days.

17. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
For a long time I thought about being President. I liked the idea of giving speeches that connected with people. It wasn’t a sense of being all-powerful, but there was an appeal to leading people through your own vision, the spark of which I think still informs my passions today. I love the process of creation, the moment when you put a sequence of words together that really clarifies a thought. Or you throw some stuff on the wall and it turns out better than you expected; it came from inside of you but you couldn’t have consciously done it.

daily dessert

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Patriotic edition.

I grabbed this cookie yesterday from a lunch place near my office called Dishes. It’s one of those standard lunch places – they have a handful of New York locations, including a kiosk type thing in Grand Central. I’m generally not a fan of these midtown lunch places, but I like this one. I think their food is a lot better than the usual sandwich/salad chain. And their buffet lunch options are always really yummy and *not* swimming in baths of their own oil and grease.

Too graphic?

I cannot remember the last time I chose an iced sugar cookie for dessert. Of all the delectable options available when choosing a sweet treat, why go for the iced sugar cookie? It’s almost never that good, almost always really hard or stale and the frosting usually disappoints. And after the first bite I took of this pretty little flag cookie I thought, Yup. Gross. What a waste of my dessert.

But then it grew on me. And a few bites later I was really gobbling it up. I might even consider going back to get another one sometime soon. How quickly the tides turned! It was yummy! Plus, it was pretty.

Moral: Give the basic iced sugar cookie another try. Might be tasty. Plus, pretty and/or celebratory.

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they’ve arrived!

Remember when my daily dessert a week or two ago was an M&M cookie from Au Bon Pain? Well, I received a sweet email from Donna, the Hospitality Manager of the company – she’d seen the entry and said she was going to send me some cookies as a thank you for having mentioned them on my blog!

I’ve never experienced this perk of blogging before, so I was very excited. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to start mentioning things I like just to get them for free. That would be a smooth move, but it’s not really my style. Plus, I don’t think anyone’s gonna mail me a puppy. Unless…?)

Anyway, as promised, the lovely box of cookies from Donna arrived yesterday! She sent them to me  in a cool gift box type thing that I plan to keep and maybe decorate? Or use as a hat box? You know, for all the hats.

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I actually didn’t realize that Au Bon Pain has a gift basket line, but they do. Interesting.

(Gift baskets. Fanny & Jane. My wheels are turning.)

Along with the cookies and the cool box, Donna also sent me a very nice note AND a coupon for a free lunch! I thought that was really generous.

I sampled half of a cookie this afternoon. It was yummy. Thank you, Donna!

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this can’t be real

Have you heard of this? I can’t believe it. It’s a company that lets you CREATE YOUR OWN ICE CREAM. What?! I’m in love.

It’s called eCreamery and their site says:

Welcome to eCreamery — the online custom ice cream & gelato shop where you choose your own flavors, mix-ins, packaging, even your own ice cream name. So go ahead, make it sweet. Or make it spicy. Make it for a friend. Or make it for yourself. At eCreamery, the options are endless, the flavors are fresh and best of all — you rule the scoop.

You should really check out their website because the photos of their ice cream will make your mouth water.

Apparently this company is based out of Omaha, Nebraska and besides their eCreamery, they are also a “small boutique ice cream parlor in the heart of Omaha,” which makes me want to move to Omaha because good ice cream parlors do not come along every day.