Friday, December 31, 2010

A Year in Review...

A lot of people are talking about 2010, and how they didn't have a great year, are ready for it to be over, and are putting a lot of hope that 2011 will be better.  For me, I feel lucky to have had an amazing year.  From the very first second, to hopefully the last, it was a great year for me. 

The very first second of 2010, Gimpy told me he loved me for the first time.  How could you have a more perfect start to a year?  I was with all of my friends, and a man I loved (but was too scared to tell him that back yet!)  It was a truely wonderful start to the year.  Plus, look how skinny I was - can you believe that arm??  (I'm on the right of Mike doing the cheek kissing)
January was a great month of fun, relaxing, and just being with my friends, while still training for my half marathons with Kitty.  We had a ski trip to Mt Snow with one group of our friends that we don't hang out with a lot, and learned that if you put 10 people in a hot tub, there won't be a lot of water left when you get out!

February kicked off with Melissa's birthday, and a Jersey Shore party.  How Jersey do Gimpy and I look?

We had an awesome Valentine's Day - both out with all of our single friends, and then when we went to dinner together.  We had more birthdays, more nights out, and more fun than we can handle.  March kicked off with a trip to Orlando with Kitty and MM, one of my favorite people in the world who was living in SC, but moving to Alaska with her husband.  The three of us girls were running the Disney Princess half marathon.  We were up at 3am, started the race as the sun came up, and while I didn't finish with my best time (2h 8m), I was able to have an unbeliveable experience with two of my best friends.
March fun continued with my birthday where half of the City lost power, and we were able to party for basically three days straight.  We had St Patrick's Day, and a little bit of an odd moment for me when I got the call from a friend that my ex was getting married to a girl he hadn't even been dating for 6 months.  It was a call that brought up some mixed emotions for me... I was sad for the girl (biggest mistake she'll ever make), sad to remember all the hell he put me through, and relieved that I got out of things stronger, and ready to find someone who would show me what being in love, and in a relationship, really felt like.  Also in March, a trip to Texas to help my friend Blair pick out her wedding dress.  A little bittersweet, considering she won't get to wear it as soon as we'd hoped

April marked Gimpy and my first Easter together, a tangerine maple glazed ham, and 19 bottles of wine for 12 people.  Oops.  My volleyball team won our league and playoffs, so I got to take home two huge trophys.  It was also Gimpy's birthday month, and the first time I went to VA with him to meet his whole family.  I threw a "Nothing Suits You Like a Suit" party for my friend Mike, and closed down the month.

May was the Long Branch Half Marathon with Kitty - the most epic hot day.  May also was home to the Preppy Pub Crawl, and a visit from my fabulous friend V.  We finished up the month with a massive tailgate and DMB concert, and were ready for boating season. 

June is Birthday Month for us.  We had B's birthday, Kitty's birthday, and if you can believe, we had 6 other birthdays.  It was also the beginning of Alive at 5, our outdoor summer concert series, and the end to productive Fridays! 
July kicked off with a fantastic trip to Nantucket, and a creepy underware thief.  We threw a jewlery party for a friend who started a new business, and spent more time on a boat than you can even imagine....

August was filled with weddings, more boating, and my historic icing.  While there have been some good ones, I think I am still unmatched in this area!  We had more birthdays, housewarmings, more and more boating, and my youngest nephew turning one. 

September kicked off with a Labor Day BBQ, Gimpy further convincing me that I'm the luckiest girl on the planet, a Yankees game, a Hurricane party, and more boating.  October was here before we knew it.  My sister's best friend got married to a guy who told her 8 years ago he didn't believe in marriage, I took 23 people on a tour of 5 vineyards, and I threw a Coming to America party for my friend's 2nd anniversary here.  We went apple picking, I got to visit my friends in Texas, and Gimpy's childhood friend had HIS heart broken.  We also had Halloween, several nights of it! 

November marked our scavenger hunt, the throwing out of my back, and the first time I had my dad's whole family over for Thanksgiving dinner.  I also threw my 10 year high school reunion, and got to feel a little old as I met everyone's pregnant wives!  Now it was my favorite time of year... the holidays!

We had some more birthdays, a cookie swap party, of course the 12 Bars of Christmas, Festivus, family time, and the sadness of losing Flip.  Tonight marks the end of an amazing 2010, and for me holds a lot of promise that 2011 will be even better. 

So, to you and yours, have a Happy and Safe New Year, and may 2011 be filled with amazing times! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An Italian Sandwich

One work day I was bored and chatting with my friend Glenn (ladies, if you like athletic, funny, awesome guys with an MBA who are just a little short, let me know and I'll hook you up), and he was trying to figure out what he could make for dinner.
I suggested that he make an Italian sandwich, and he loved it so much that he reported back that he makes it all the time!  Of course, that made me think I needed to make it a blog post for you guys.

Italian Sandwich
Take a cibatta roll, slice in half, and layer with pesto
Add roasted red peppers

Layer with prosciutto and mozzarella
Top and enjoy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Skinny Chicken Corn Chowder

We have been having a massive two day blizzard rocking through the North East, which makes me crave soup, but of course my favorite soups are loaded with cream and other nonsense.  I set out on a mission to make a healthy corn chowder.  I found a recipe, and decided I need to plump it up!  I wanted to add more veggies, garlic, and add some chicken - protein takes it up a notch.

Skinny Chicken Corn Chowder
4 cups of corn
2 cups skim milk
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup assorted peppers diced
1 chicken breast, diced
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 cups veggie stock
3 garlic cloves, put through the garlic press
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine 2 cups of corn and milk in a bowl, cream using an immersion blender.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in the bottom of your large stock pot with the diced chicken, and diced veggies - with the exception of the tomatoes.  Cook until the chicken is cooked through and veggies are soft.  Add the stock and bring to a boil.

After boiling, turn the heat down slightly and add the creamed corn mixture and tomatoes.  Add salt and pepper, and heat through.  Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cookie Swap Party!

Last week we had a cookie swap party!  It was 13 girls, and we each made 5 dozen cookies of one type of cookie and got to take 5 of each flavor.  It ended up being a perfect assortment, but a TON of cookies!

We had some of the traditional cookies - sugar cookies, Italian wedding cookies, rum balls, gingerbread, kiss cookies and then we had some unique cookies.  B made marshmallows covered with chocolate and peppermint, and we had haystacks, cranberry pistachio biscotti, pumpkin cookies, and I made peppermint whoopie pies!  

It was great because I was able to make three plates like above!  One for my sister, one for my dad's family, and one to send with Gimpy to VA.  

Peppermint Whoopie Pies 
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla
6 cups flour
2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 tsp baking powder 
1 1/2 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt 
3 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350.  In mixer, mix butter, sugar, and eggs until well blended.  Add oil and vanilla and mix again.  Meanwhile, mix all dry ingredients together.  Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixer, and blend.  Add 1 1/2 cups of milk, mix.  Add the remaining dry ingredients, mix, add remaining milk, and blend.  

Scoop tiny (size of a large marble) spoonfuls of dough on ungreased cookie sheets, an inch apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool, stuff, and serve!  

1 1/2 cups shortening 
3 cups confectioners sugar 
1 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff 
Dash of salt 
1 tsp of peppermint extract 
1/2 cup crushed candy canes 
1/3 - 1/2 cup milk

Combine all ingredients in your mixer except the milk.  Add just enough milk to make the filling creamy.    Spread over cookie halves, and put together.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Man Down - Flamingo Lost

Well, tonight was an interesting Wednesday.  I'm not sure if I've ever told the blogosphere about my pet flamingo.... or our pet chimpanzee for that matter.  Flip, my flamingo, used to sing and dance, and have a blast, and one very, very drunk night (8pm), B and I decided to make him a facebook page, some music videos, and do a photo montage.  It basically sealed his cult status around town.

Flip was the perfect buffer!  When we met random people who wanted to come on our pub crawls, we'd have them friend Flip, not us (who wants creepy stalkers??), and he could send out the invites, without us having to worry about sending them to randoms.  He usually will come to the first two or three bars, and then pass out drunk in the car so we don't have to worry about him all night.

This year, the girls brought him out.  I knew I couldn't watch him - I was managing 120 people through 12 bars, it's kind of a lot of work!  We got our family photo....

And then I proceeded to move people through 9 more bars.  Soooo.... basically, someone left Flip behind.  I was told at one point he was left at a particular bar, and called over.  They told me they had him, so I was relieved!  Little did I know they were about to earn a lifetime ban for lying to me....

Sunday morning we got up and did the pub crawl in reverse, in new outfits, or versions of our outfits from the night before!

When we got to the lying bar, we were crushed to hear that they didn't have Flip.  We checked back another few bars, and I became extremely upset!  We started a facebook group to Find Flip, and began our hunt.

My awesome friend Danielle made posters, and she and I posted them all around town.  Hopefully we'll find him soon....

With that being said - if you find a random pink flamingo dressed like a present, please send him home!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Third Annual 12 Bars of Christmas - a Smashing Success!

This past Saturday marked the Third Annual 12 Bars of Christmas in Stamford.  It was a HUGE success!  We met at 5 at Butterfield and just before 6 we held the first ever costume contest.  I was so pleased with the spirited costumes and the great attitudes that everyone had. 

We had lots of creative costumes - some of the most unique were
  • The grinch and his dog Max
  • A stocking stuffer
  • A Christmas tree
  • Christmas Bleeker
  • A Jewish Ice in a Box (see here for icing)
  • Reindeer Games
  • And of course, Gimpy's Gingerbread man

I sold out of the 100 koozies we had by 10 minutes into the second bar, making this officially our biggest pub crawl ever!  We hit at least 115 people, so very much a successful night.  We had two small glitches, because of time we ended up cutting Buffalo Wild Wings off of our line-up.  We figured if we had to cut one, it was better to cut one that wasn't offering specials.  10 of us did still run in to take a shot though!  We also had to skip Grand... turns out they had a private party, and couldn't fit us in!  Here again though, about 10 of us ran in to take a shot, so I did make it to all 12 bars! 

Adding to another success, is that we were written up in one of Stamford's online news sources, the Stamford Patch.  I am so pleased to be able to throw these types of events, and am really lucky to live in a City that supports fun! 

Special thanks to the following bars:
Butterfield 8, Tigin, SBC, Rack and Roll, Hula Hanks, Black Bear, Tiernan's, Bobby V's, and Riviera Maya!  Thanks for your support and help in making this our best pub crawl to date!

Friday, December 17, 2010

12 Bars of Christmas Crunch Time

Tomorrow marks the 3rd Annual 12 Bars of Christmas!  I am excited and nervous.  Excited because we have 95 people who have RSVP'd that they will be coming, and nervous because of three things.

1.  That's a lot of people to move between bars
2.  I lost last week because of a business trip in San Francisco, so I am way behind in costume prep
3.  From losing last week, I've been up all hours of the night sewing, and have gotten sick :(

My costume is a little bit of a nightmare!  I'm going as a gingerbread girl, and sewing a dress.  Problem is, the pattern left off directions to make the pleats in the skirt, and to attach it to the bodice!  So I'm trying to figure that out. 

Gimpy's costume is almost done.  I need him to try it on before I can hem the sleeves and the legs, and then put the frosting on it.  He's going to be Gingy from Shrek
And... this is what I have done so far
I have to make his head, put in the zipper, and do the frosting.  Should be fairly easy! 

We have a housewarming party tonight, so I want to try and finish my costume before we go, and then only stay a short time and finish Gimpy's when we get home!  

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fun Party Display from San Francisco

This week I'm in San Francisco for a work conference.  It's been a loooong week, and I did a little bit of Christmas shopping while I've been here.  I wandered into Crate and Barrel to send Gimpy some ideas for holiday gifts for me, and saw the cutest idea. 

They used their place card holders to label bottles of wine! 
I wouldn't use my place card holders to label wine, I mean, let's be serious, it's on the labels!  I do love this idea though for labeling my appetizers that I put out.  I have some really cute ones at home that are super Christmas-y, so I think I'll try it for my next party or brunch.