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Happy Thanksgiving

My aunt and uncle hosted 40+ people at their beautiful home for Thanksgiving.

thanksgiving set up

 It was a lovely holiday, full of family. Both sets of my grandparents were there. I always feel so thankful and blessed when I have them all in the same room. Makes me heart happy.

We had all the staples – turkey, green bean casserole, vegetables, corn, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes. My addition was roasted brussel sprouts with a bacon/mapple glaze.

I plan to spend the rest of the break relaxing, seeing friends, decorating for the holidays, and (maybe) shopping. I hope your holiday has been as lovely and enjoyable as mine. I truly have so much to be thankful for.

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When I started thinking about costumes I have worn through the years, I was convinced that I have been very creative. However, after reviewing Halloweens past, I am not so sure about that (please see the cat below). Regardless, it is fun to reminisce. I only have photographic evidence of Halloweens 2005 and beyond, although I did have some killer costumes as a child. I recall a borrowed Chiquita Banana costume that was pretty bad-ass and something I would love to wear today.

Anyways, just for fun, let me present – ‘Snickie, Through the Years (In Costume).

Halloween 2005

 In 2005, I decided to do Halloween as a bag of frozen broccoli. This was impossibly hilarious to myself and my pictured friend (The Jolly Green Giant of course!) and likely puzzling to anyone else we came in contact with. I was proud of that broccoli hat though. I had a guy suggestively tell me that broccoli was his favorite vegetable that night. Oh, college.
 

Halloween 2006

 
Although you can’t see me very well, I spent Halloween 2006 as ‘Sexy Shrek’. Oh boy. I am pictured here in my Shrek ‘ears’ with a bunch of my sorority sisters in the Southside. I believe the cops broke up this party shortly thereafter with some confusion as to whether they were actual cops or costumed guests. Oh boy, I really do miss college.
 

Halloween 2007

 
Halloween 2007 included a party in my brand new grown up apartment in Shadyside. My angel costume was a bit uninspired but I recall having had Lasik (for the 2nd time – grr) the day before the shin-dig. I briefly considered going as a one of the three blind mice but couldn’t get my act together in time. Wings and halo it was.

Halloween 2008

 I hit my creative Halloween low in 2008.  An old dance costume, a tail, and a mask were purrfectly lame. I don’t even have any proper fuzzy ears. Sad.

Halloween 2009

Halloween 2009 is when I realized that as a busy working woman, I needed to plan ahead in order to be looking sharp for the Halloween holiday. This was the first year I ever ordered part of my costume on-line and I think I made a solid pick with the Kate Gosselin wig. She was at the height of her celebrity and general shenanigans.  Other parts of the ensemble were from my personal collection. This was a well received costume. I did have a Jon with me, dressed in an Ed Hardy shirt, baseball cap, and shades.

Halloween 2010

After the success of my 2009 costume, I decided to go the wig route again in 2010 and ordered my Snookie wig well in advance of October 31st.  I was worried the parties I attended would be littered with Snookies but I only came across one other. With my (homemade) bejeweled glasses, it was no competition. I am ‘around the shore-house’ casual Snookie in the above photo but I brought out some leopard print the next evening – in case you were questioning my authenticity.

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2011 was another success. Ben and I dressed as Captain America and Wonder Woman. Although my costume turned out slightly more revealing than anticipated, I was still happy with the end result. Ben made an impressive showing by putting together his costume from random clothing items, dollar store foam paper, and medical tape a mere hour before gametime. I also made a clutch decision by traveling to my parents’ house to retrieve my beloved childhood Felicity (of the American Girl Dolls) cape. Great thanks to the Pleasant Company for producing such a well made cape.  It has far exceeded my expectations of usability beyond my younger years.

And so that concludes my Halloween story. Sort of randomly personal for Snickie but I do what I want around here.

Any favorite costumes past you would like the share? Please do!

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Boo.

Behold my carved pumpkin. Titled “A Ghost and his One-Armed Friend“.

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As is the case every summer, I go into a reading frenzy as the days warm up and I can find more pleasant and varied spots to lounge and read (some favorites include Schenley Plaza, my parents’ deck, and Myrtle Beach).

Here are my thoughts on six different ‘foodie’ books I made my way through these past few months.

The Widow Clicquot (Tilar Mazzeo): This book tells the story of Veuve Cliquot and the widowed young woman that helped the champagne brand rise to prominence in the 1800s. It’s quite a crazy and inspiring story considering the era in which it occurred. The book sometimes falters and drags – there are no first-hand accounts of what transpired, just what the author has gleaned from other texts and business notes of Veuve. Overall, I enjoyed the book though and it made me respect and understand the wine/champagne business even more.

Bones, Blood, and Butter (Gabrielle Hamilton): This is the memoir of Gabrielle Hamilton, chef of Prune in NYC. This book has gotten much press – I heard her on The Splendid Table a few months ago and recently saw write-ups on her/her book in various magazines. I expected something Bourdain-esque and was not disappointed – this woman has led a crazy life. From a dysfunctional upbringing, to a cocaine filled adolescence, to solo travel through Europe, to running her own restaurant, to a unconventional marriage, her story is full of twists and turns and craziness. At times I had trouble following the chronology of the book as she goes back and forth in time a bit in the middle. However, the incredible nature of her stories and pieces of her life more than make up for any inconsistencies. Definitely a solid read.

Tiger in the Kitchen (Cheryl Lu Lien Tan): Tiger in the Kitchen follows Tan as she searches for personal satisfaction and a link to her past by traveling to Singapore and learning how to cook from the instruction of her grandmother and aunts. At the time Tan embarks on this adventure, she has been living independently in NYC for many years as a fashion writer (losing this writing job actually jump starts the adventure). Her journey is not easy and she must be patient in gaining the trust of her relatives and confidence in the kitchen. As an aspiring home cook, I enjoyed Tan’s point of view and found her very easy to relate to. Also, I think anyone interested in food dreams of how they could one day make that a full time gig, something Tan has done by seeking out her Singapore heritage and writing a book about it. As a note, this is a much lighter read than Bones, Blood and Butter.

52 Loaves: One Man’s Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust (William Alexander): I picked up this book randomly at the library (new non-fiction) and was pleasantly surprised. Alexander is truly a man on a mission – he is seeking what he feels is the ‘perfect loaf’ by making one new bread recipe per week for a year. The book is very detailed and the scientific way Alexander goes about his experiment is intense but entertaining (this is the author of the The $64 Tomato). He eventually ends up growing his own wheat and visiting a Norman monastery that bakes its own bread. Alexander has a great voice – Bill Bryson-esque.

Red, White, and Drunk All Over (Natalie MacLean): I am always searching for wine literature that does not put me to sleep. Based on that criteria, I found MacLean’s writing pleasant, warm, and inviting. I really enjoyed reading about her trips to France and other wine events, all with wine wisdom and information seamlessly wound into the text. This book is meant to be read front to back, not paged through for certain chapters on a particular wine. I wish there were more wine books like this! If anyone knows of any, please let me know.

Born Round: The Secret History of  Full-Time Eater (Frank Bruni): Born Round is the account of the great NYT food critic Frank Bruni’s battle with disordered eating. A food lover from childhood, Bruni struggled with his weight nearly all his life. When food truly became his job, the struggles continued and intensified. While his personal health suffers, his professional life soars. Bruni talks openly about dealing with bulimia, major self-esteem issues, etc.  Bruni’s voice is very honest and engaging. He manages to discuss the world of disordered eating while still adding comforting stories and anecdotes about the positive role food has played in his life. I thought this book might be a little odd but I ended up liking it by the end.

Now please please share with me your latest reads – food related or otherwise! I plan to post a list of my favorite non-food books of the last few months as well.

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Father’s Day

In order to celebrate this fantastic guy:

I made this tasty pie:

That would be a key lime pie made from fresh hand squeezed key limes, thank yoouuuu. (Whole Foods seems to be a reliable source for key limes). Other than the squeezing, this pie is super easy, especially when you use a store-bought crust and Cool Whip.

You can find the recipe here. Bright, light, tart and creamy.

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Randomness

So these dudes seriously brought it last night.

I rocked out yesterday to NKOTBSB with my mom, aunts, and cousins at Consol Energy Center. I did the appropriate pre-work Tuesday night and brushed up on my dance moves/lyrics via NK and BSB videos on Youtube. This subsequently made me miss my TRL watchin’ days and I ended up building myself a nice little pop-based 90s/early 2000s Pandora station to listen to at work.

Ooo baby.  They really did rock though. Awesome show.

In other news, apparently Snickie’s taco related pleas have been answered (see the taco pic in this post) and two new spots have popped up in the ‘burgh.

Chica Loca Taco (Shadyside)

and

Smoke (Homestead)

My parents were actually the ones that heard about and visited Smoke and they enthusiastically recommended I make a visit. It hasn’t happened yet but hopefully soon. Also, Chica Loca Taco is right in my hood so I need to try that one too!

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The Saga Continues

Well, I would like to thank all my family and friends that inquired about my well being and general mental stability after my post about the bird living outside my window.  The concern is appreciated but I am perfectly fine. Just a little odd. Nothing new there.

Additionally, I even feel the need to update you on the bird-mance happening in Shadyside.

Meet Melba and Beauregard, two mourning doves tending to their little nest of eggs. Yes I named them. Mourning doves are monogamous partners and share incubation duties (thanks wikipedia). I happened to catch the two birds as they were changing shifts. I spotted two white eggs in the nest as they switched positions.

Melba the Mourning Dove

These pictures were taken last week. I kept checking up on the birds and they were always there, tending nest.  I started to get nerdily/creepily excited about possibly photographing their little squabs when they arrived.

Sadly, upon returning to my apartment last Tuesday after work, I found no birds and no eggs, just a nest. My boyfriend has tried to convince me that Mel and Beau moved the eggs to a safer location during last week’s storms. Not buying it (although I do appreciate his effort).

And that concludes the story of my first foray into bird watching.

The end.

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