Sunday, March 29, 2015

Simple Pleasure Sunday: Chick fil A

Since I do not own my own vehicle and live in the suburbs, I am rarely just out and about to quickly grab some fast food. Even though my fast food preferences are a burger and a roast beef sandwich, I do crave a chicken sandwich from Chick fil A once or twice a year. I had been craving it for a few weeks. Finally, on Wednesday during my lunch hour, I indulged in a #1 meal (sandwich, fries and coke) following a few errands. It was delicious! I savored every bit of the sandwich but didn't finish all of the fries and soda. I know this will publish on Sunday, so if I give you a craving for it on the day they're closed, I am so sorry. Healthier salad for dinner that day and for lunch the next day.

I did experience a simple pleasure fail. The Saturday before last, I picked up a handful of daffodils at the grocery store in order to celebrate spring. The small bunch were just buds about to bloom at the time of purchase. I think I had bought tulips last spring, so I decided upon these cheery yellow flowers this year. They didn't open. They actually died as buds. Researching the care of this specific flower online, I made sure I did everything right. Trim the stem at a 45 degree angle, check. Fill the vase with shallow lukewarm water, check. Add plant food, check. Repeat every day or two, check. In my research, I discovered that they could be affected by something called bud blast which may have been the case with my bouquet and there is nothing I could have done to save them. Oh well. Tulips (dark pink, bright pink with white edges, white!) are calling out to me now, but I may wait to buy flowers for my birthday next month. They are an occasional luxury. I love having fresh flowers in my home. It is a simple pleasure that feeds my soul.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


With the exception of discovering a beautiful new place, nothing invigorates me more than an authentic conversation. A sincere real heart-to-heart, even one in which (my) vulnerabilites are exposed!

I went out on Friday night. My friend and resident M had a birthday dinner at Outback Steakhouse. On a budget, I rarely dine out, so I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I wore that Baroque top for the first time. The Blood Orange 'Rita has been on Outback's menu for years now, but I haven't tried it before because I don't often splurge or might not order it when treated. I finally ordered it last night and it was delicious. In fact, I had to force myself not to down it in like three gulps! Simply delicious. As was their bread, tangy tomato salad dressing, steak, baked potato and Chocolate Thunder from Down Under (which is basically a brownie a la mode). It was a fun night for M who happened to suffer from his second traumatic brain injury over six months ago. He's been living at a rehabilitation center far away. I was thrilled to see him enjoy his evening (22 oz. steak with lobster included) and be surrounded by six good friends (and a plethora of thoughtful Grateful Dead gifts), so close that they're like family. M even calls one of them Aunt J.

This "Aunt J" is like family to me as well. I laughingly think that J's like the Jewish grandmother I've never had. She's like me in many ways. I am so lucky to have a wonderful friend like her. On the blog, you'll know her as the author of my Christmas poems. While she drove me back home, the conversation eventually turned to me and my plans for a new life, specifically my need to move to a city. She is kind of pushy, in the best possible way, and wants a better life for me, namely one where I can dine out once a week and savor a vacation once a year. All of which is possible with a better-paying job. She wants me to experience and live life. With the exception of my birthday shopping spree, I am living as minimally as possible in order to save money to move and establish emergency savings. This is valid and important. Frustratingly, this step takes time. Anyway, to be close enough to someone to theorize reasons why I am not very ambitious in terms of my career is something. I am such a private individual. J sees such potential in me, more than I see in myself, which is a bit shocking as I am a constant dreamer of possibilities and like to accomplish what I have planned. This is simply the most recent of so many heart-to-hearts we have had. After each intimate conversation, it almost takes me a bit of time to calm down. A close connection shared is invigorating because authenticity is such a deeply held value of mine. INFJs like me often tend to be incredibly close to one person or a select few. Sadly, I do not currently have this is my hometown of mine. Maybe after I move away and meet new people, I will develop these deep relationships I crave in a romantic interest or new local best friend ...or both. You know (from my previous post) that I'm reading Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin, a new book on habits and I so wish I could excitedly share my thoughts with E, read him passages from it. I believe he might be a Questioner to my Upholder tendency (regarding handling internal and external expectations). For the first time with a guy, I became increasingly aware of how I was unintentionally holding back my real self (that is, my complex inner world) from E (to be "cool") and tried to reveal more with this man I loved. Anyway, it was nice to have let my guard down with J, who I think is likely a fellow Upholder. This deep discussion will serve me in my actual life, at least in motivation and support. I think I will take her up on her offer and meet her to work on my résumé as well as research job or even career possibilities.

Monday, March 23, 2015

What I'm Reading

I finally got my hands on my pre-order, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin, last week. I've enjoyed it very much so far. I predict it will be life-changing.

[Nail polish: Style Hunter by Essie]

The first part discusses self-knowledge. Knowing yourself well is a great guide for developing habits that will stick. I feel that the author is a kindred spirit because we're both Upholders and Finishers who value simplicity over abundance. Conversely, since I am a perfectionist who puts a lot of pressure on myself, despite many self-imposed deadlines, I think I sadly delay something until I think I have plenty of time/energy/money/whatever to do a job well done as much as I can (which often never arrives and I gotta do it just before my deadline) and am thus a Procrasinator to her better Marathoner though. It would be a miracle if I got one week ahead on the Simple Pleasure Sunday posts instead of pretty much writing it on the Sunday it publishes.

I'm getting into the second part now. This is a book that I will read slowly. Once finished, I will be sure to review it.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Simple Pleasure Sunday: Planning My Birthday Shopping Spree: Wish List

I am excited for my birthday shopping spree in three and a half weeks. Since I love a capsule wardrobe and am fairly decluttered throughout my home and life, I am looking forward to replacing and/or upgrading well worn necessities as well as trying beautiful new things. As a former Art History major, I love my research and so I have been "window shopping" online lately. I have been playing with a wish list pinterest board to keep it all organized. I will look out for these items in addition to browsing on the day.

Even though I would love a carved wooden screen, the ruby bracelet from Fire & Ice that I've had my eye on for years, and a Le Creuset Classic Cherry Curved Oven, each of these items would likely cost hundreds of dollars. I firmly believe in quality over quantity and saving for the item of the highest quality I can afford but I settled on a shopping spree for my birthday in which I intend to make multiple purchases and, despite significant savings, my budget is still an issue. I need to keep things reasonable. As a result, every item on my birthday wish list costs no more than $110. This post is unlike me because I am a daydreamer and would include expensive items and experiences normally. And I certainly do not to expect to purchase every item on this more practical list. The following list of 31 options is organized by price, low to high.

Michelle's 31-Item 31st Birthday Wish List:

Under $31:
1. Teddy Bear Cookie Cutter, Sur la Table, $1.25
2. Tea Bag Cookie Cutter,, $3.99
3. Olin Red Placemat, Crate & Barrel, $4.95, want 4
4. Eiffel Tower Espresso Mug, Sur la Table, $5.95
5. Paris is Always a Good Idea Print, FoxyOxie Etsy shop, $8
6. Wilton Large Cookie Pan, Target, $8.99, want 2
7. Bellemain 12-cup Nonstick Madeleine Pan,, $9.95
8. Heritage Hill 64 oz. Glass Jar with Lid, Crate & Barrel, $9.95, want 5+
9. Cargo Essential Lip Gloss in Prague,, $16
10. CIA Ice Cream Scoop, Bed Bath and Beyond, $17.99
11. Ben's Garden Cocktail Napkins- A Party Without Cake,, $18
12. Owl Sink About It Soap Dispenser,, $19.99
13. Essential Short Sleeve Scoop Tee in White,, $22
14. a home item from favorite store HomeGoods
15. a bottle of wine, The Italian Market or Bin 201

Over $31:
16. b.tempt'd by Wacoal Ciao Bella Underwire Balconette Bra in Night, Nordstrom, $38 + panty, $19
17. Steve Madden Ibiza Flat in Nude,, $39.95
18. Levi's 512 Bootcut Jeans in Indigo Rinse, JCPenney, $39.99
19. jcp Knit Blazer in Charcoal Heather, JCPenney, $39.99
20. Hatchet tote in Midnight Black, Aldo, $40
21. Chanel: Collections and Creations hardcover,, $42.53
22. Layered Tank in Black, Ann Taylor, $59.50
23. Steve Madden Zsaza Crystal Embellished Strappy Sandals in Silver, Nordstrom, $63.20
24. Nikon Coolpix digital camera in Black,, $64.58
25. Large Nonstick Roaster, Crate & Barrel, $69.95
26. Essential Core-Loft Blanket in Raspberry Tile in Twin,, $79
27. All-Season Stretch Pencil Skirt in Black, Ann Taylor, $79
28. Petite Signature All-Season Stretch Trousers in Twilight Gray, Ann Taylor, $79.99
29. Sleeveless V-Neck Shadow Stripe Dress in Luscious, White House Black Market, $89.99
30. Sadie Wallet in Black, Hobo, $108
31. Ivanka Trump Sophia Pump in Natural Patent, Nordstrom, $109.95


The bold line items are a priority, my top five.

For about a dozen items, I would have to do some online shopping following my spree through Annapolis.

The tea bag cookie cutter is to make these adorable cookies sometime this year.

Some of the kitchen items are upgrades. For example, the cookie sheets are reviewed as sturdy. My cheap ones warp in my hot oven nearly every time. The ice cream scoop is also said to be sturdy. I always seem to be using a broken one for such a long while. Both of these are workhorses in my kitchen.

A staple for me, this particular white tee is supposed to not be so see through.

Yes, the name of the bra does make me like it more.

I really need a pair of jeans to wear with heels that fit. Levi's tend to have a 32" inseam on the regular length where Ann Taylor can be way too long at 33 1/2".

My current black tote from Nine West Outlet is very worn from everyday use. I'm surprised that I'm still carrying it! The one from Aldo is a replacement option until I can afford to upgrade it with a high quality one from Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Coach, etc.

I've wanted this Chanel coffee table book to pile with my Nina Garcia style books for a long time.

The wallet is an upgrade for my coupon/loyalty program card/gift card/dry cleaning receipt/change wallet from Wilson's Leather. I love Hobo products, especially when the leather texture is "tumbled." I may use it for cash/credit card/photo ID/insurance cards/coffee shop punch card wallet too, but my current one is from Florence and I love it!

The pair of nude pumps is kind of like the ones the Duchess of Cambridge often wears.

I will certainly share my purchases here on the blog as well as post about my Spring 2015 Capsule Wardrobe. Perhaps a bonus 'what's in my handbag' post.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wine of the Month Club Membership So Far

My sister gave me a wonderful Christmas gift. She subscribed me to a service where two bottles of red wine are delivered to my door at the end of each month for six months. This particular Wine of the Month Club is from AmazingClubs. I truly love it so far. Wondering what kinds I'll receive, I always open the box with excitement. Even though I am not a wine expert, I still wanted to share my notes...

Now halfway through the membership, I have had six bottles delivered since late December, but have only tried four of them so far. I stored a San Valencia Pinot Noir from Chile and a Dream Catcher Malbec from Argentina (with a lovely Toulouse-Lautrec-inspired label) in my wine cabinet. I'd like to have a selection on offer for entertaining. The literature accompanying the wine suggests that the Pinot Noir would pair well with "crispy duck pancakes."

The first bottles of wine from December are difficult to remember now. One was a Madison Ridge Shiraz from Australia. Shiraz has never been my favorite. This one was complex, all the way through its long finish. The second was a Fachada Carménère from Chile which I liked much better, probably because it reminded me of Chianti.

The wine label on the Real Compania Tempranillo by the brand Bodegas Muriel from Spain was also lovely, decorated with crowns in the regal hue of purple. This wine I received at the end of January was well-rounded with a long finish.

The French Merlot, the Marquis de Bataille Merlot, was my favorite Merlot I've ever had the opportunity to taste. It smells fruitier than it tastes, like how I would expect a Merlot to taste, but the taste is well-rounded instead. It is still a medium-bodied wine but is the fullest-bodied Merlot I've ever tasted, almost like the Chianti that I'm accustomed to. This wine from February is a beautiful red color. I am pleased to be making a note of it here, so I can try to find it again to serve at parties.

I will be sure to review the remaining bottles in the membership. It has given me the opportunity to sample more than my go to Chianti. Even though I am a very picky individual and would usually opt to choose items for myself, I don't know if I can let this fantastic gift end anytime soon! How could I let it run out until after I move closer to a wine shop I adore?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Movie Reviews: The Big Wedding and Ida

I did enjoy the nice spring-like weather yesterday by taking a walk, but I also stayed in and watched a couple of movies on my Kindle, one during the afternoon and the other in the evening.

The first was The Big Wedding which piqued my interest with so many big names in it. The story showed a wedding weekend with a lot of family drama. I liked it, feeling like a single viewing was enough though. I thought the romantic comedy was funny, at least I smiled throughout, if I wasn't actually laughing. The performances and script could have been better. If they had been, it would achieved the message that there are all kinds of love in a much more thoughtful and powerful way, rather than everything being embarrassing. This was not a film that was highly reviewed.

I felt like something different for a possible second movie of the day and selected Ida. This won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film this year. It's in Polish with English subtitles. In addition to being critically acclaimed, this drama was also highly reviewed. Ida is about a young woman who is about to take her vows in order to become a nun during the early 1960s. Before doing so, this saintly girl meets her sinful aunt. For the first time, this orphan learns about her Jewish family and their demise during World War II. This film is well done. Everything is austere... the setting, dialogue, stationary camera shots, that it is in black and white as well as the main character's expressions to all the shocking revelations. This austerity sharpens the contrasts between the two main characters and highlights their personal journeys. The audience actually fills in a lot of the blanks. This movie is all about identity, particularly how your past can shape you. Identity has always been something that has held my interest. I enjoyed the film and recommend it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A New Bottle of My Signature Scent

I finally purchased a new bottle of my perfume, Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere, a couple of weeks ago. The bottle has been redesigned to resemble the iconic container of Chanel No. 5. The Chanel website explains that this elevates the experience and I agree as I love a classic. I love how it looks on top of my jewelry armoire.

I love that I have a signature scent that I wear every single day. Check out the story on how I found it as well as the old vessel design here. I especially adore that the fragrance is a classic with a modern twist. It is perfumy thus womanly but light thus fitting for a thirty-something like myself.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Simple Pleasure Sunday: Small St. Patrick's Day Celebration

Your italiagal is part Irish and usually celebrates St. Patrick's Day. Even though I love going out to a bar every once in awhile, I don't enjoy huge crowds nor being out on the road when so many are likely to drive after drinking, so I knew I wanted to mark the holiday in a few smaller, more simple ways. In addition to dreaming about a visit to Dublin, I plan to wear a green top on Tuesday. I'll have to check if I still own it! Today on my day off, I celebrated a little bit early by having a bottle of Irish beer, Harp Lager, with my lunch and dinner.

Lunch: grilled burger, fries and pickles. 
Side Note: This is a rather unhealthy meal, so I load up a small rather than regular-sized plate since I'm still a finish-your-plate kind of girl. This keeps portion-size in check. (And know that the placemat is smaller, custom-made for my small table by my friend, F.) I know I mention a lot of good food on these simple pleasure posts, but a lot of my other meals are salad with homemade vinaigrette and/or whole grain pasta with tomato sauce for some balance. As a lifestyle blogger, I believe in savoring food I love, without guilt, but just in moderation.

I even found a pot of gold...

My kind of pot of gold, caramel popcorn I ordered from Dolle's on the boardwalk of Ocean City, Maryland. I thoroughly enjoyed it as dessert after dinner.

I hope you have a happy, safe, and lucky St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Birthday Plans: For the Actual Day

My birthday is coming up, over a month away. I want to do something special on my exact birthdate, which falls on a Wednesday this year. I wished to share what I've come up with so far, which is my basic plan for the day.

Since I only usually buy what's on my shopping list, I really want to indulge in a shopping spree. I miss shopping! Since I love places, the destination is just as important as the activity, and I have decided on Annapolis. The city's mall is filled with stores I love like Ann Taylor, Blanca Flor (Silver Jewelry), Francesca's Collections, and Crate & Barrel, to name a few. HomeGoods, my favorite store, is right outside too. Annapolis also has three shopping centers in a small area, one of which features a Sur la Table which I have never explored. There's also a really nice wine shop called Bin 201 near that kitchen supply store. Which reminds me of the Italian Market, close to the mall as well, which is actually a restaurant with a wine and food imports shop on one side. Then, there's charming Main Street with two stores full of imported goods, one all Irish called Avoca and the other French and Italian ceramics called Plat du Jour (if it's still here...). I've never patronized the Hobo flagship store (for handbags) just off this street. Hopefully, it will be sunny and my stroll down the brick-lined street will be delightful!

In preparation for this shopping spree, I would need to caffeinate first. Luckily, my favorite coffee shop is in between my hometown and Annapolis. I could start my day with a delicious cappuccino.

Ooh, maybe I could end the shopping spree with a drink during happy hour at my favorite bar, the Galway Bay Irish Pub, just off Main Street. Or have lunch or dinner at Maggiano's in the Annapolis Mall? Cake is a requirement sometime during the 24-hour period.

So, I could browse for and hopefully buy: a beautiful dress, a pair of sleek jeans to wear with heels, a sophisticated blazer, a pair of classic nude pumps, a pair of sparkly summer sandals, a nice bottle of wine and whatever I suddenly had to have at HomeGoods.

Those are in addition to the items I plan to purchase sometime soon from Crate & Barrel: big red wine glasses and striped placemats for both everyday and entertaining as well as classic glass apothecary jars for storage. My birthday wish list is another post. I will save as much as I can for this spree as well as politely reply "a gift card" to anyone who happens to ask what they can get me for my birthday. Acquiring any of these items would be exciting, but, really, the experience of shopping thrills me more. Always on a budget, I don't wander malls, tempting myself, much any more, so this shopping spree will be out of the ordinary. I shall surround myself with my favorite things and places. I will dress up, go out, eat out, and be out of town for the entire day.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Simple Pleasure Sunday: Pain au Chocolat

Years ago, Shannon of The Simply Luxurious Life recommended splurging on chocolate croissants from Williams-Sonoma. Since j'adore pain au chocolat and it reminds me of my trip to Paris last spring, this product has been at the back of my mind for awhile. I finally ordered fifteen frozen chocolate croissants of high quality. You allow them to rise overnight between sheets of parchment and then bake them for fifteen minutes at 375 degrees F. Along with espresso, I savored one for breakfast Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They do taste buttery, but they are incredibly flaky and delicious. In my mind, they tie my favorite pain au chocolat in America, the one from Amy's Bread in the Chelsea Market in New York. They are almost as fantastic as what I remember having enjoyed in Paris. I will definitely purchase these again and can't wait to share these with (my Paris travel buddy) Elizabeth! I highly recommend this product.



A lazy Sunday morning: 
breakfast at the coffee table and Pinterest on my Kindle.

Update on March 11, 2015: These are on sale for $23.95 today only.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


I pre-ordered a new book on habits, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, yesterday morning. Developing good habits has been on my mind lately, especially as an INFJ who always wants to improve. Doing something as a habit is easier because it feels natural. One thinks about the task less, so one can devote more thought, energy and time to bigger and better things.

I have implemented a new habit again recently that I have mentioned on the blog previously. From the Wednesday before last through this morning, I woke up early and at basically the same time everyday, even my weekend days on Sunday and Monday. In fact, usually around 6, my earliest wake-up time was yesterday (Friday) at 5:30 and my most late one was today (Saturday) at 6:39. I also did not crawl back into bed once out. Waking up at a consistent time should help with my chronic insomnia, helping my body to know what to do when. Tomorrow morning, however, this will totally be me...

As a matter of fact, I look just like Audrey Hepburn on Sunday mornings! Seriously, though, I should really try to continue sticking with this new habit of a regular sleep pattern. This habit has two benefits. First, getting enough sleep is so important for good health. Second, rising earlier will allow me to accomplish more and let me lead the chic life I desire.

Speaking of sleep, I want to start acquiring another habit: to stop looking at my phone and laptop at least an hour before my bedtime. The light from the screen makes your eyes and brain stay alert. Check out this article I came across recently. I shall stop looking at the screen on my phone and computer at 9:45 PM every single day, "schoolnight" or not. I actually do not own a TV at the moment to worry about that. No promises for my Kindle though as I love reading books before bed. I could promise to only read from my Kindle though, not use the other apps including Pinterest, after my established screen shut-down time. I do still read real books (as in hardcovers and paperbacks) whenever I can get my hands on them.

I want to develop another habit specifically for workdays. When I was dating E, I was often frustrated that I couldn't converse well at dinner. I would stumble over words or be unable to speak endlessly about a topic I love such as the plethora of options for antipasti! (An INFJ usually does not do well verbally anyway, especially without a lot of rehearsing first.) Often as soon as I got off from work, I would immediately begin getting ready for the date. I worked hard all day and then I didn't give myself a much-needed breather before jumping into living my life. Balance is so important for a life lived well. My work day is absolutely chock full of small talk, which drains an INFJ who values authenticity. As a salesperson, I have to constantly be "on." Furthermore, the company expects leasing professionals to be bubbly. I'm a happy person, but, still, "bubbly" is more. It's tiring to be someone I'm kinda not for eight to nine hours with only a half hour lunch break. I don't even have a commute for a transition as I walk up 13 steps within the same building to get home. As an introvert, my energy that is so devoted to others has drained at closing time and I require alone time to do nothing at all in order to bounce back. Without a break, it's clear to me that I'm not my best self. I'm still running on empty, even when really excited about a date. I want to find a great way to be restore my energy in order to be an entertaining hostess and eventually flirtatious again as well.

Highly sensitive to caffeine, a beverage such as coffee, soda or tea truly affects me, for awhile at that. I have two (espresso) cups of espresso around 6:30 in the morning and often only eat chocolate that also contains caffeine the rest of the day. I have long given up liquid caffeine (espresso, cappuccino, coke or tea) after 2 PM, if I want to sleep at night at all. I have/had family with the same condition. I do rarely make an exception, like... meeting a friend for coffee during the afternoon, while traveling, or with dinner out (like earlier tonight) or at a friend's or family's place, but know I could take a sleep aid that particular night. Chocoholic that I am, I have never limited consuming chocolate for its caffeine content! Luckily, this food or drink contains much less of the drug than the other favored drinks I mentioned. Anyway, the caffeine in my morning coffee keeps me going strong all day, but is no longer in my system during the evening. As a result, I crash hard sometime between 7 and 8, barely able to keep my eyes open. If I happen to fall asleep a bit during that crash, then there's major trouble falling asleep overnight. I've found that a cup of decaffeinated black tea (since "decaf" products actually contain a very small amount of caffeine, but I'm definitely sensitive enough to be affected) that is sweetened with sugar just after 5 will eliminate that crash 9 times out of ten, and then I can be productive and/or simply enjoy my evening feeling like myself.

After getting off from work or getting home after a run to the store immediately following my shift, I could adopt a routine where I rest while sipping a mug or teacup of tea. (I simply drink Lipton's decaffeinated black tea.) I've been trying it lately but can definitely resolve to take this time much more slowly, attempting to do as little as possible. I prefer a glass of red wine to unwind after a (crazy) day in property management, but that tends to make me mellow, thus either more sleepy or at least not caring so much if I drift off mid-evening. I could spontaneously have some vino rosso every once in awhile after 5 on a tough day or simply indulge a little later while cooking dinner in addition to pairing it with dinner, of course. Anyway, I'm a busy woman who always pressures myself to be perfect, so hopefully this dedicated down-time won't take too long!

I like the idea of an established cleaning schedule, where I accomplish a certain task on a specific day of the week, say... vacuuming every Wednesday, for example. Right now, I do write down a 'to do' list of home cleaning and beauty treatments and check the items off in my Kate Spade planner everyday. Accomplishing certain things once, twice or three times a week or month, I am mostly on top of it. However, this system lacks the strict routine scheduling. I feel that way would be more effective ...and I would appear more effortless! I'm unsure if being that strict about it would work for an INFJ like me who does seek order in her environment but needs to embrace spontaneity ...kind of regularly. Maybe I'll figure it out and see how I like a new system...

I wanted to unload all of that from my brain and to hold myself a bit more accountable in this public forum. Once I read that new book on habits later this month. I'm sure I'll push myself to develop even more habits.

Update on Monday, March 9th: My work hours have unfortunately changed. I used to work from 8:30 to 5 Tuesday through Friday for office hours 9 to 5 and from 9:30 to 5 on Saturday for office hours from 10 to 5. Now, I work only when the office is open from 9 to 6 Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 10 to 7 on Wednesday but the office will be opened at 9 by the property manager. I get to keep my Saturday hours. Ugh. I suppose it's more Italian to have an hour lunch break than a half hour... First impressions are so crucial in my industry and now I don't have time to prepare for my 9 AM appointment, which I believe is against company policy. Those times are just so late. It's a two-person office and I am the sole leasing professional so I do not have anyone to share hours with. I guess I want another job anyway; this is simply more motivation to save money and work on my resume before I start really applying again.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Simple Pleasure Sunday: Watching a Hugh Grant Movie

The Friday before last, I discovered that a romantic comedy starring the reigning king of romantic comedies Hugh Grant was recently released on DVD! Why didn't anyone tell me?! It's called The Rewrite. I found it as a recommendation in the blog series This and That at The Simply Luxurious Life. I actually rented and viewed it on my Kindle that evening. It was good, not great; I enjoyed watching it.

Hugh Grant is a screenwriter that is unable to get work, so he takes a job as a professor in a small town across the country. He teaches a single screenwriting class. His character is a sleazy guy who sleeps with a student and at first tries to be as lazy as possible, which, of course, gets him into a lot of trouble. He's good in that role. His students eventually inspire him to teach, even leading him to help one of them score a Hollywood deal. He falls for a single mom who is another one of his students, played by Marisa Tomei. Her help marks a turning point for him. The story isn't the best, but the performances help this movie. I adore Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei.

New Recipe #7: French Toast

It has been two full months since I have tried a new recipe as I simply couldn't afford new ingredients and supplies during my toughest months financially. I am so happy to return to this now. I made french toast and already purchased the items needed for risotto.

I actually haven't made french toast myself before. I associate french toast with my sister who loves breakfast. I suppose that I may have assisted her or maybe my mom in its preparation, but my first attempt occurred this morning. It feels like a nice Sunday morning meal.

It turned out well but I still plan to tweak the recipe for next time. I just think that the mixture was very thick and the end result was a little too eggy for my taste, so I will use just three eggs next time instead of four. I will also purchase a strainer to sift a bit of powdered sugar over the slices beautifully. 

I grew up with Mrs. Buttersworth and King Syrup on the breakfast table instead of maple syrup, so I now have Mrs. Buttersworth in my kitchen cabinet. 

With milk and espresso.

I used this recipe that I found on Pinterest.

French Toast

4 slices of bread*
4 eggs**
1/8 c. milk
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
a bit of butter

Mrs. Buttersworth/King Syrup/maple syrup
confectionery sugar (to dust)

1. Mix eggs and sugar in a container large enough for a slice of bread (I used a piece of tupperware.)
2. Mix in milk and vanilla extract
3. Heat stovetop grill pan, flat side up, and melt some butter
4. Soak a piece of bread in the mixture, covering both sides, let excess drip off
5. Place on griddle over low-medium heat
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for first round of servings
7. Brown on both sides
8. Serve with syrup of your choice and dust powdered sugar

*  I only used two slices for myself.
**  I will try just 3 next time.

Cooking Note: Do not use fresh bread. I bought a loaf on Wednesday and used it on Sunday.

This is such a quick meal and I enjoyed it. I plan to whip it up again, especially for guests.

The plan today is to travel to Delaware to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday. I will try to publish a Simple Pleasure Sunday post sometime after I return.

Update: I tried this recipe using three eggs on Monday morning and it was better. I'm unsure if I'll experiment with two...