Life Lately

Oh poor blog, I am so sorry for abandoning ye. But you’ve always been in my heart, I promise!

A month ago I started a new job at New jobs generally tend to take up a lot of time, but when you LOVE your new job, they take up even more time without you realizing, because you are enjoying every second of it.

But I have been squeezing in some cooking to my crazy new life, and promise to share recipes soon! To tide you over, here are some delicious adventures I’ve had lately:

Australian gluten free treatsEnjoying gluten-free treats my mom brought me all the way from Australia (those chocolate cookies are crumbly but goooood.)

Gluten free chocolate cupcakesSpending the weekend in Atlanta with a bunch of my closest friends from college, staying with a friend’s parents who happen to be gluten-free and whose mom made this INCREDIBLE chocolate cupcake with chocolate mousse, marshmallow, and chocolate fudge.

Halloween sushiEnjoying my new gluten-free-friendly cafeteria (GF bread! GF signs on everything I can eat! GF soy sauce!), which gets really into the holidays.

Potato pastaTrying new (to me) restaurants in NYC with gluten-free options, like this pasta made out of potatoes at Sauce.

ABC kitchen And trying fancy restaurants too, like ABC Cocina. My best friend and I made a pact to try new restaurants each weekend, rather than continuously going to our old standbys. Best pact ever.

Statement Necklace Board Straight Out of Pinterest

I spent the last week taking some time off to relax before starting a new job, and set myself a long list of projects: visiting my grandma, making homemade veggie burgers, taking a bunch of spin classes, and finding a better way to store my statement necklaces (mushed in a tangled pile isn’t a great one). I knew I wanted to hang them somehow, but since cork boards are ugly I decided to pretty one up. The result is this super easy storage method that looks really pretty too.
Incredibly easy to make, GORGEOUS way to display and store your statement necklaces
Statement Necklace Display & Storage Board

square piece of cork board (designed in the back to be hung on the wall)
piece of thick paper in design of your choice, at least 4 inches bigger in both directions than your cork board
glue stick
decorative push pins
necklaces (most of these are from JCrew/Factory)

Take your glue stick and cover the whole of your cork board in glue. Carefully lay paper (centered) over it, smoothing as you go. Cut a diagonal line in overhanging paper at corners. Working one side at a time, glue side and back of cork board and carefully fold paper around edges of board, cutting and tucking at corners, so that board appears completely wrapped. Let dry at least one hour.

Stick pushpins along the top of your board at even intervals. Lay board on a flat surface and decide what order you want to display necklaces in (I recommend alternating bulky and more delicate ones) first. Remove necklaces, then hang board on your wall (mine came with screws but I just used two nails, a hammer, and the leveler in the compass app on my iPhone). Carefully hang necklaces from pins, and behold your handiwork.

I Never Want Summer to End…But I Do Like Shopping for Fall

Summer is my favorite season. It is the best one and I will accept no arguments in this matter.

However, I do really like fall. Nowhere near as much as summer, but it’s a pretty good second-place season. I mostly like it for the clothes–being able to put together layered outfits without needing to cover them up with a huge coat because it’s negative 17 degrees outside is a fun use of my (tiny) closet. And with my new crop of birthday gift cards, here’s what I’m planning to stock up on*:
fall shopping basics1 – lowish-heeled booties. I’m planning to buy these, in brown, from Madewell this week, because while I prefer to do all my shopping there during sales, I have a feeling they won’t go on sale for a veeery long time. I think they’re a good day-to-night option.

2 – sweaters that aren’t gray. As I was looking for a sweater to feature for this post, I found half a dozen gray sweaters I loved. But when taking sweater inventory the other day and noticing just how many gray sweaters I have (we don’t have to get into details, but most of my sweaters are gray), I am instituting a rule that I am not allowed to buy gray sweaters this year. I do like this JCrew one (which I will get only when they have a sale–don’t shop there without one, kids), not that I need more things with polka dots…

3 – a leather jacket. I don’t really have a good in-between jacket, so a nice leather one would be perfect. I want something classic enough to last a few seasons, since they’re not exactly inexpensive, but still modern-looking. This Nordstrom one is a good start.

4 – moar statement necklaces! I have a problem.

5 – a new leather everyday bag. My current regular purse is not long for this world–I love it and I’ve had it for years (it’s the bag in this post, which isn’t sold anymore), but it’s going to need replacing soon. I have no idea what style I’m really looking for (this one is just okay), and well-made leather bags do not come cheap, so this is one I probably won’t actually buy.

6 – sheer polka dot tights. I tried to buy these three times last year and all of them ripped. Hopefully this year I can find a pair that lasts.

Thanks for enabling a shopping spree, birthday!

*I apologize for the lack of posting/meaty posts lately! Work has been quite busy and, sadly, I do need to put my paying job before this here blog.

A Letter to Myself on My Birthday 10 Years Ago

Dear Little Alie,

I know that you are very upset right now–the lovely blackout that’s affecting the entire northeast for multiple days had the audacity to fall right smack in the middle of your birthday. You are so sad that instead of enjoying Baskin Robbins ice cream cake (the best kind, because it’s cake AND ice cream–you will still feel strongly about this in 10 years) for days, you watched your cake melt. You will continue to dramatically tell this story for the next decade, if that’s any condolence. But I know that right now you just can’t get over that this is the worst birthday EVER.

If I could go back and time and give you this letter, I wouldn’t. Because, while this is the worst right now, this isn’t going to be your worst birthday ever. In the next 10 years you will fully enter adulthood, and you will come to realize that your birthday, unfortunately, isn’t always the best day ever. You’ll have birthdays where people will make you cry. You’ll have birthdays where you’ll get food poisoning. You’ll have birthdays where you’ll have to eat gluten-free cake, even though right now you’ve never even heard that word before (it’s good though!). You’ll have birthdays where your heart has been so broken you don’t even want to celebrate. Growing up sucks.
Birthday cake with googly eyesBut you’ll have great birthdays too. When you turn 21, even though you’ve had alcohol quite a few (many, sorry Mom) times already, you’ll be so drunk and silly that your habit of leaving Leela drunk voice mails will cause you to drunk dial her in the cab home while you’re sitting next to her (of course she’s still your best friend, not that you’re surprised. When you’re in your 20s you’ll finally become roommates like you’ve dreamed of since you were 7, again, not that you’re surprised. On your birthday 10 years from now, she’ll get you this great cake filled with private jokes you haven’t even gotten to yet). When you’re older and your parents have gotten divorced (again, I’d never give you this letter from a time machine), they’ll still be there, together, on your birthday. And your friends, your wonderful friends (you’ve got some good ones right now, but just wait to see who you meet in college and adulthood), they’ll be there with you for all of them. And you’ll know that even with blackouts and tears and heartbreak, that you really are blessed with what matters.

So no, Alie of 10 years ago, this will not be your worst birthday ever. But make a wish on that melted cake anyway and know you’ve got some truly great people in your life now, and have so many more you won’t believe how lucky you are coming your way.

Love, Old Alie

Great Day, or Greatest Day?

On Saturday night I went to the Beyoncé concert. You know the phrase “everything you dreamed of and more?” Whoever came up with it was at a Beyoncé concert. I spent a lot of dollars on my seat and every single penny was worth it.
BeyonceSorry, Billy Joel, but you’ve been passed for the #1 spot on my internal list of best concerts ever.

I’d post some of the videos I took here (Survivor! CRAZY IN LOVE! I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU INTO HALO!) but I am preeetty sure that’s illegal, so just put on your sequined jumpsuit and put on Spotify.