Notice my new look? Big change, right? What do you think? I love it, but I can’t take the credit. Nope, that goes to Jess from Delicious Design Studio (although you may know her from All Things Cupcake or The Tattooed Mama). I don’t have a clue what CSS is, or even stands for, but luckily I had the good sense to find someone who does.
Since I’ve managed to keep at this blog thing for more than a year now, I felt it deserved a fancy new dress. Jess whipped up something that’s just my style. And as an unexpected plus, I think that having a great-looking template makes my photos look better. Maybe it will trick you into thinking my words are better, too! Thanks, Jess!!
This is the view from both our living room and bedroom in the apartment we are leaving this weekend. I’m sad to give it up, but I guess I’ve been pretty lucky to enjoy the sight of sailboats in Sydney Harbour for a whole year. Our new place is back in downtown Sydney and the view there will be into the windows of the hotel right smack across the street. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for some good spying at least!
As I’ve been going through my things at home, I realized that I also have a few things here to take care of. I’ll start with some thank yous for a few awards that I’m truly honored to have had passed on to me.
Shari from Whisk: a food blog gave me a “Blogging with a Purpose” award. I’m thrilled to get an award from someone as excited by, and interested in, food as Shari. She claims to be a “cooking school wannabe,” but I think she knows her stuff well enough to be a cooking school instructor!
Holly from PheMOMenon gave me another “E for Excellent” award. Holly bakes up excellent stuff for her boys. They are lucky ducks to grow up with such great homemade things! Holly, you are spoiling them for life! :)
Tammy from wee treats by tammy bestowed upon me a “Rockin’ Girl Blogger” award. Even though she’s a full-time lawyer, Tammy manages to bake amazing treats several times a week. She’s currently rockin’ her mad decorating skillz making gorgeous cakes and cookies.
Mimi from Mimi on the Move passed along a “Yummy Blog” award. Mimi’s photos are seriously the ultimate in yumminess. I want to reach out and take everything she posts, sweet or savory! As part of this award, I have to list my top five favorite desserts I’ve made on this blog, so here they are: German chocolate cake, Bill’s Big Carrot Cake, Nanaimo Bars, Cranberry Bliss Cupcakes and Julie’s Brownies.
Thank you Shari, Holly, Tammy and Mimi!!
Also, I was recently tagged for a meme by Amanda from Slow Like Honey and Allison from The Neon Celery Kitchen. Not so recently, Tammy tagged me for a similar version of this (sorry, Tammy!). Thanks! Here goes:
What were you doing ten years ago?
Probably sitting a cubicle starting at cashflow models or bond prepayment scenarios. I my first spent six years out of college in a Wall Street job, and I do not exaggerate when I say that for much of that time I lived in my cube.
What are five non-work things on your to-do list today?
(these are actually things I did yesterday, as I started this post yesterday morning)
go to the gym
a zillion loads of laundry
continue packing up
get a facial
What snacks do you enjoy?
This is totally boring, but because I eat dessert most nights, I try never to snack between meals. Most days I stick with this..if I must snack, then it’s fruit or raw veggies. I do enjoy those, but in an ideal word, I’d snack on cheese and crackers everyday.
What would you do if you were a billionaire?
So many things!! I’d make sure my parents, brother, grandparents and in-laws were set for life. I’ve been dreaming of owning an apartment in a Brooklyn Heights brownstone, but if I were a billionaire, why not make it a whole brownstone? And I’d fill the closets of that house with clothes and shoes that Tim and Veronica were paid to helped me chose. I’ve been to a lot of places already (just had to get extra pages put in my passport, actually), but if I had billions, I step up my foreign travel, too. Maybe I’d open up a pastry shop with a friend…of course I’d want our business to be profitable, but we wouldn’t really have to stress about having the money to hire good help so we could take a couple days off a week (and of course travel)! I’d do a lot of research into how I could philanthropically make a difference with donations of my time and cash.
Where have you lived?
Northern Virginia (a few different spots)
Edinburgh, Scotland (one great year, but could have stayed forever)
What jobs have you had?
I know I am supposed to pass along this meme, but I also know it’s been around the block lately, so I’ll hold off for now. And as far as passing along the awards goes, I’ll give it a good think-over and let you know when I’m settled into the new place!
So, I am finally back from my vacation. I love to travel, but after being gone for almost a month, I must say it feels pretty good to be back at home. I’ve really missed being in the kitchen, but before I start throwing flour around, spilling milk and accidentally dropping eggs on the floor, I need to unpack and do about 5,000 loads of laundry.
Before I can even do those things, though, I really need to give an overdue thank you to four special ladies. Joanna in the kitchen, Indigo at Happy Love Strawberry, Danielle at Make No Little Meals and Laurie the quirky cupcake have all rated my blog E for Excellent!
With people that I actually know, I’m pretty much in the closet about this blog. Even my family would think I was a total freakshow if they knew that I basically keep a diary of and take a hundred photos of everything I eat (they have enough other accumulated evidence that I am freakshow as it is!). Maybe I should get over this embarrassment, but I am always wishing that my posts were more eloquently written or that my pictures were sharper or better styled. I wouldn’t be surprised if no one ever commented here, so I am truly surprised that anyone would call this stuff ‘excellent!’ Joanna, Indigo, Danielle and Laurie–thank you so much! Things like this encourage me, not just to keep at my little blog, but to keep trying to make it better.
OK, teary acceptance speech now over! There are so many blogs that I think are excellent, but I’m going to single out just one and pass this along to a blogger whose site I have been reading since the start. Tracy at Cake Batter and Crumbs, I give your blog an E for Excellent!
So I didn’t mention this before because I felt a little weird tooting my own horn, but the white chocolate and almond tartufi I made won last month’s Stop the Traffik chocolate competition, hosted by Rachel from R khooks. I didn’t think I could be more excited when I heard the news a couple weeks ago, until today when I received my prize in the mail!
Rachel sent four bars of fairtrade chocolate and a beautiful card (maybe she even took the photo herself?)! I am holding both a milk and a dark bar from Monoprix Gourmet and mint (yay!) and almond bars from Alter Eco. I have never tried any of these, so I’m looking forward to getting down to business and doing some sampling.
Thanks so much, Rachel, for the chocolate bars and for hosting the event! I’m sure it’s helped to open a lot of eyes to the issue of forced labor in cocoa farming and chocolate production. And if you have a second, please check out Stop the Traffik’s site for more information on “Traffik Free” chocolate and where to find it.
I’m back at my desk chair, all moved into my new apartment, with the DSL finally up and running. Thanks for all the comments to my last couple of posts while I was away– it was really nice to have so many waiting for me!
I’m working on a couple of new recipe posts, and hope to have them up next week. In the meantime though, I’ve been tagged for the “eight things” meme (my first) by KJ over at A Cracking Good Egg. Thanks, KJ! Maybe my facts are not so interesting, but they are definitely random…
My Eight Random Facts:
1. I am horribly bad housekeeper. One of my least favorite things is folding clothes, and I use the dryer as a dresser until another load of laundry must be done. Yes, my clothes are often wrinkled.
2. I hate driving. We have a car, and I even hold two licenses (one for New York and one for New South Wales), but I can guarantee that I will not sit in the driver’s seat unless it is a medical emergency. Usually I walk where I need to get, and if that is not feasible, I take public transportation.
3. I was a math major in college/university. I must seem a little ditzy, because if the subject comes up, people usually are surprised by this.
4. I look forward to going to the dentist. I don’t enjoy having cavities filled, but I get very excited for my six-month cleanings. When I was a kid, I adored my pediatric dentist Dr. D’Aquila (who had an office subscription to MAD Magazine), and I even wanted to be a dentist. Later, though, I realized that I am grossed out by a lot of things, so that profession did not turn out to be my calling after all.
5. I have a long scar on my left hand from a tragic Big Wheel incident. I was four, and that and the resulting trip to the emergency room for stitches are my earliest clear memories. This did not dampen my love of the Big Wheel though, and we were together for a couple more years.
6. I love seafood and have a couple of pieces of chicken or turkey each month, but I haven’t eaten other meat in almost 20 years. (It really frustrated my father to have a kid who would refuse hamburgers and hot dogs.) Probably 90% of what I cook at home is vegetarian, although not necessarily super-healthy.
7. With the exception of my signature, I only write in print, never in script. And all of my Rs are upper-case. I don’t know why or how that started.
8. My satin baby blanket is my most prized possession. Grandma W gave it to me the day I was born, and it is still on my bed and in great condition. I have it dry cleaned when it needs to be, but R is still horrified by it.
I see from other blogs that this meme has really made its way around, so I won’t tag anyone myself. If there are eight things you are dying to share with everyone, though, please do, and then let me know so I can read them!
Happy Independence Day to my fellow American friends! I wish you all a very fun, safe holiday. So no M-80s in the front yard! This is the first year in a very long time that I will not be watching the fireworks either in New York from the Brooklyn Heights promenade while enjoying a Mister Softee chocolate-dipped chocolate soft-serve, or from a spot on the Mall in Washington, DC, while listening to the National Symphony Orchestra. (I’ve gotta say that DC’s display really beats all others.) I’ll be missing the excitement, but don’t worry…I’m not boo-hooing too much about it, as R and I are going for a nice dinner at Rockpool to celebrate.
On a different matter, we are moving to a new apartment in Sydney at the end of the week. We have been told by our internet provider that we will have a lengthy lapse in service because of the move. I will make a post tomorrow for this month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge, but then won’t be back on-line for ten days. With all that free-time, I’ll be sure to make something tasty in my new kitchen to report back on!
Last week this handy little icon joined my sidebar. What is it, you ask? It’s a link to join The Foodie BlogRoll, started by Left Over Queen Jenn to bring food bloggers together. If you have a newer blog like I do, it’s a great way for others to find it. Or if it’s a rainy day and you just want to stay inside, it can provide you with hours of web-surfing possibilities. Unfortunately, WordPress won’t allow me to show the scrolling blogroll beneath the icon, but if you click on the link, you can see them on Jenn’s site.
Along the same lines, it has been nagging me since I started this site that I do not have my own blogroll up yet. This is not because I am not paying attention to other people’s work. (It is simply because I am lazy.) There are blogs that I check everyday, hoping that their authors have added a new post. Some I like because they are funny, some because they are written with a truly personal spirit, and some because they have the most amazing photos (of these, I am ever so jealous). I am even slightly embarrassed to admit that I have two blog crushes. I promise to work to correct this gross negligence on my part (the blogroll, not the crushes!). Stay tuned…
So I’ve gotten those boxes unpacked and the stuff put away. It is quite nice having my pots and pans here, not to mention a large part of my cookbook collection.
I was a little upset to receive two boxes that, when I left them in the hands of the movers, were intended for a storage facility somewhere in New Jersey, but somehow would up on an Oz-bound boat. Inside one is a bedside table lamp from my Brooklyn apartment that I don’t need here and wouldn’t work if I did. The other one is quite large and contains, among other things, some of my university math textbooks. Perhaps I can re-teach myself differential equations in my downtime.
And it looks like I will have to invest in a new pizza stone. I really wish that had been packed for shipping, but maybe it cut a last minute deal with the lamp to swap places…
As you can see, the first (and only) thing I have figured out how to use is the paintbrush.
Today is the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Yesterday the bridge was closed to auto traffic so that thousands of pedestrians could walk across the Harbour from North Sydney to the CBD.
To celebrate, R and I, along with our friend Tim, did an evening BridgeClimb! We took a breathalyzer test (my first, and hopefully last!), put on goofy jumpsuits and climbed 134 metres to the top of the arch for the most amazing view of Sydney after dark. I’m sure the experience is fantastic on any night, but last night’s Aboriginal smoke ceremony and the throng of bridge walkers in light-up baseball caps below made it incredible.