Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Although the first day of the New Year is just another day; really just a regular day of the week and can hold a simple title like ‘tomorrow’, the final seconds to the countdown of a new year always leave me feeling sentimental; emotional. I don’t want to say goodbye to yesterday and the yesterdays before yesterday which made my entire year, but today is only another day. January 1st is only the day after December 31st. And moving forward, each day that passes becomes a memory. You can’t go back and hold on to a day, even if you wanted to. So be happy with your memories; be happy that you are alive and moving forward with your future. And try to make your future a better future than your past.

I would like to share some things that I am thankful for from 2011 and my life in general. (In no particular order).

There are things that have happened in my life that are nothing short of a miracle. I am thankful to God for continuing to bless me (even though I haven’t been to church in quite a while). I have encountered many situations where the solutions seemed hopeless and impossible, but I always end up rising above the impossible situation and conquering the monster before me. I’m so, so grateful for these miracles.

I am thankful to have a job in this day. I have been extremely blessed to consistently have had a job since I was 19 and to have never been out of work since. With the way this economy has been I know how awesome that is. I am also thankful to have great, lovely people to work with, people whom I can call friends. And to come from previous jobs where some coworkers have become my extended family.

I am thankful for the people whom I’ve had to release from my life. I loved them at one point, I appreciated the friendship and enjoyed my time with them, but due to falling out(s) I learned that I should always trust my gut. People always show us who they truly are, we just choose to ignore it - 'Undies in a Bunch'.

I am thankful to be in a position to ‘pay it forward’, mostly to my brothers. There are angels (great friends) who have fallen into my life at just the right moment with exactly what I needed and I am happy to be that person to others, but especially to my brothers.

I am thankful for my true blue friends. I love you from the tips of my toes to the split ends on the hairs growing out of my head. I am so blessed to have friends who love and appreciate me and whom I love and appreciate. Not everyone has true lasting friendships and I am so blessed to have so many.

This might be redundant, but I am thankful for my best friend, Giselle. I have a few best friends who are all sisters to me, Daisy being one of them (who also shares Giselle) but Giselle is like… a sister-sister. We’ve been together for 22 years and we have shared the good, the bad, the ugly, the crazy (her), the amazing, the funny, and many milestones. To many more years and decades of true, sister friendship!

The release of Undies in a Bunch was a big deal for me. I am thankful to have friends who offered their services to help Undies in a Bunch come to life. I am thankful for all of the amazing support and uplifting feedback I received and I am also grateful to possess the focus and determination to follow through with the goal of completing and publishing my second book.

I am thankful for this blog and all of the wonderful, amazing people I have met through blogging. I am thankful for what having a blog has done for my writing and for the avenues it has opened up for me; and I am also thankful for more wonderful feedback from people whom I would least expect to be interested in my blog. Thank you for becoming my fans!

My solo trip to Puerto Rico was an amazing adventure and for someone who is afraid of flying, I am happy to have made it there and back in one piece. (Thank you, Jesus.) Life is about sharing experiences with people and I love being with people, but I also love that I won’t allow people to stop me from enjoying my life because they can’t or won’t do something that I want to do.

I’ve been trying to save as much money as I can so that I can fulfill my dream of home ownership, but I’ve already begun brainstorming where my next adventure will be to (with or without people). And once something gets into my head, there is no stopping me.

Getting my learner permit was another big deal. I'll share in a future story telling why my leaner permit means so much to me, but those who know, know how much of a big deal this is.

I am happy to be happy with me; the person I am, the woman I am, just the way I am.

I’m happy to be so comfortable in my skin that I don’t care what people think of me. I am happy that I can be honest with myself. I am happy to recognize that I don’t always do the right thing for myself. There is always room for improvement (even if I take my sweet time doing the improving).
I am happy that I have a big heart, even though that doesn’t always work in my favor… I am me and I love everyone BIG. The alternative is being a bitter bitch and that is no life for a sweet girl like me.

I am happy to be someone who continues to grow. There is a lot that I can change about the way I see things. If I saw certain situations in a different light, I would be less of a high strung individual (or so I’ve been told), but I am a realist (some say negative… fart noise to you), and although I have an imagination, I don’t have time to play games with myself.

I don’t do resolutions, but one thing I hope for myself is to grow into a better me. To make the most of every situation, every moment and every experience that comes my way.

It’s been a great year. Here’s hoping to an even better 2012!

Happy New Year!!

~ Love: Louise C.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmastime in the City

I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes get possessed by my camera and all of the beauty this city holds, so two years ago, at Christmastime, I took to the streets and began snapping photos of just about everything that had to do with Christmas. The next day it snowed (how perfect) and I felt compelled to take the same pictures all over again, but this time with snow in the shots. Needless to say, at the end of those two days I was exhausted. I didn’t know what I was going to do with all of the pictures. I won’t bore you with all, but I will share some. Keep in mind that I am not a professional photographer with a fancy camera. I just love to take pictures with my regular camera. 

Poinsettias

Welcome to Santaland
(without snow)

(with snow)


City Wreaths

6th Avenue

6th Avenue - Day & Night

Rockefeller Horns

5th Avenue

This time of year, New York City is jammed packed, but it’s the perfect time of year to capture some seasonal memories. Grab your camera and go!

~Louise C.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Louise's Restaurant Picks - Stage Door Delicatessen

My thirteenth featured Restaurant Pick is Stage Door Delicatessen:


5 Penn Plaza
(Corner of 33rd Street and 8th Avenue)
New York, NY 10001
Cuisine: Deli, Diners & Coffee Shop

Stage Door Deli is very close to my heart because they feed me plenty. I’m like a little, furry animal. If you feed me, even a little, I’ll love you forever.

Aside from being a restaurant, Stage Door Deli provides catering to many business meetings in the midtown south (west) area, which is how I came to know them.

First, I’ll talk about the food. Everything and I mean everything that I have eaten from this place tastes DE-LISH regardless of whether it is baked ziti or a tortilla chip. And the reason everything tastes so great is because it is home made. Their pico de gallo is to-die-for; their guacamole, mmmm! And I hate avocado. Their salads, their sandwiches and wraps, their soups, their chicken parm… everything is muy delicioso!

Next, I’ll talk about the service. Fantastic!! In corporate offices, professionalism is appreciated and the gentlemen who deliver our catering are extremely polite, courteous and professional. It can’t be easy walking into the middle of a meeting with (sometimes) 30 - 50 hungry people waiting to eat. The deliverymen manage to set up a beautiful spread quickly and discreetly.

And then there is the owner and his two sons (Tom, Nick and George) who feed me all the time. Where I work, we contact Stage Door A LOT for their catering services and regardless of whether I want something or not, they will send me breakfast or lunch depending on what time of day it is. I’ve walked in to work and found egg whites and home fries on my desk. I’m not a fan of egg yolk and I love Stage Door for remembering this about me. (Ha-ha). It’s so minor, but to me, customer service goes so far with the littlest personal touch.

Today, Tom invited me to have lunch at his restaurant to thank me for all of the business that I have given him throughout the year. It feels like I’m cheating because I am only doing my job, but I am so warmed in my heart for his generosity today and for all of the breakfasts, lunches and cups of tea that he has provided ME throughout this year. Thank you, Jesus! (LOL)

I haven’t read my bible in a very long time (bad Louise), but the reason I am thanking Jesus is because of this scripture:

Matthew 6:26: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

I try never to take anything I get in life for granted. Thank you Stage Door for being so good to me.

If you are in the Penn Station area and are looking for a great place to eat, do visit Stage Door Deli. You will not regret it!

Visit their website for more of their menu options.

Enjoy and until next time, happy eating!

~Louise C.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Becoming a Child at Christmastime

I have many wonderful Christmas memories, but the majority of them are from when I was a child.

I try to recreate my own Christmassy tradition every year and although it’s fun, it's just not the same. I may not feel that ‘feeling’ until I have children of my own and I can become a kid again with them by sharing the things that made Christmas exciting for me and creating new traditions with them. Maybe I just expect too much from this holiday. That’s a problem I need to work on. Expecting too much out of everything. Let’s see if I can work on that in 2012.

Some of my best Christmas indulgences and memories include Charlie Brown; Santa (aka Father Christmas in England) who I sometimes wish still existed to me; The smell of cookies baking in the oven, sometimes burnt baked cookies that my mom left in the oven a little longer than they needed, which still managed to come out tasting better than ever; Sitting on the floor in the lobby of my church, wrapping presents for the Angel Tree Project (An organization that donates Christmas presents to children whose parents are serving time in prison); Times Square Church’s Christmas production of 1990… or 91. I can’t remember which year exactly, but it was my favorite Christmas production; Singing Christmas carols and handing out candy canes at Rockefeller Center; Christmas fruit cake that my grandmother baked and sent to us from England, which I ate while reading Heidi; And last but not least, hot chocolate!

Of course there was much more to these memories; these are just some of the memory sparking activities I participated in at Christmastime.


Aside from still watching Charlie Brown every year, one of my favorite childish Christmas indulgences is The Snowman. It is so British. I guess you can take the Brit out of London, but…

My mom introduced me to The Snowman when I was about four-years-old. The Snowman is a story about a boy who builds a snowman and when he goes to sleep that night, the snowman comes to life and takes the little boy on a journey to his snowman land, introducing the little boy to his snowman friends and he even gets to meet Father Christmas. There are no words in the entire movie, and I love that even though you get the story visually, everyone can still come to their own conclusion.


I almost lost my mind when I found that The Snowman available on DVD and, on two separate occasions, I asked two people to buy it for me for Christmas, but neither of the two delivered. Maybe they thought The Snowman wasn’t a good enough Christmas gift because they both got me something more expensive than the ten dollar DVD I asked for. I am very easy to please.

Eventually, I ended up buying The Snowman for myself and I finally watched it last winter. Oh, the nostalgia! And this Christmas, I plan on putting on my red and pink striped Victoria’s Secret thermal pajamas, making a cup of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and watching my wordless cartoon again. So what if I’m 32. I love taking part in the things that were fun for me when I was little. It brings me back to a time when life was much simpler.

To becoming a child again at Christmastime!

~Louise C.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Getting ready for Christmas

I planned on keeping my decorations simple this year because I hate the task of putting them up and removing them. But what is Christmas without decorations? I decided to go simple…


But it’s a little bare compared to my usual decorations.


I might just swallow my laziness, pull out my step stool and go to town on my ceiling later tonight. We’ll see. I’ll drink some CafĂ© Bustelo to boost my motivation.

I’m also getting ready to serve Christmas dinner and looking forward to it.

A few items on the menu...

Coquito

Roasted Chicken & Pernil

Wet rub ingredients for my chicken & pernil

Baked Mac & Cheese

Flan

Apple Crumble

This little contraption is AWESOME for peeling, slicing and coring apples. It cuts the preparation time in ½ .


I was going to make two-layer pumpkin cheesecake,


but two desserts are enough. I’ll save the pumpkin cheesecake for my baby brother who put in a special request.

I shouldn't even be blogging right now, I should be...grating cheese or something. I have a lot of work to do.

Have a wonderful weekend!

I know I will!

~Louise C.

Monday, December 5, 2011

...but forbidden water is soooo good!



I left this watering can on the window sill with the intention of watering my plant, not my cat. I mean, she has a full bowl of water in the kitchen...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Louise's Restaurant Picks - Oro Bakery & Bar

My twelfth featured Restaurant Pick is Oro Bakery & Bar:


375 Broome Street
(Between Mulberry & Mott Streets)
New York, NY 10013
Cuisine: Wine Bar & Cafe

The only dishes that I have tasted on their menu are the Meatballs (Made with Angus beef. Served with a homemade sauce); the Spinach & Artichoke Dip (Served with crisp bread); and the Chocolate Souffle Cake served with chocolate sauce.

I haven't had the pleasure of tasting them yet, but their madeleines seem to be a big hit.



The reason I have eaten so little from their menu is because this was the real reason for my visit:


I just love a wine bar!

The first time I visited Oro was on a cold, wintery night with two of my friends. We ordered mugs of warm, alcoholic beverages (which I don't see on their menu, but I'm sure they still serve) and dessert. That night, Oro was the perfect place for a spontaneous girl's night, but Oro is also the perfect setting for a cozy date.


The space is limited, but there has never been a crowd when I have been there (which has only been twice). The warmth and friendliness of the service also mirror the ambiance of the restaurant. Oro is so quaint and cozy, especially with a warm drink in your hands, that you won't want to leave; and with the cold days of winter looming ahead, Oro is a perfect pick. I plan on going back soon!


Visit their website for more of their menu options.

Enjoy and until next time, happy eating!

~Louise C.

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Photos from orobakerybar.com

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December and Happy Holiday Season!!

I can’t believe it’s December already!! The years seem to be moving along way too fast. Either that, or I’m just getting old.

Although Christmas doesn’t feel the way it used to, I still make a big deal about it in hopes that the spirit will fill me again.

I always, always send out Christmas cards and I usually spend the last week of November writing up my cards. I print out my Christmas card excel spreadsheet, my address labels and then go to town, highlighting names off my spreadsheet as I address envelopes. By December 1st, my Christmas cards are all stamped and ready to be dropped in the mail. I take my Christmas carding very serious.

Last year, I stocked up on Christmas cards during the after Christmas sale, so when November rolled around, I expected to spend the last week as usual filling out cards… that is, until I won a family portrait photo shoot with the fabulous Isabelle Selby!!


I’ve been so good at not spending money lately, but with the awesomeness of the photos, there is NO WAY I can leave them just sitting on a disk. I have to treat myself to professional Christmas cards, just this once!

I’ve always wanted to send out a family Christmas card… didn’t think Edward would be up for it, but he totally proved me wrong. Take a look:











Mrs. Claus is looking good, aint she? And I guess the dude with her is pretty okay too…

A few things about Isabelle (the photographer): Although I love to be in pictures (whip out a camera and I’m cheesing all the way) when I am put on the spot with a professional photo situation, it takes me a bit to loosen up. The fact that I am not relaxed shows on my face and it will be obvious, in the photos, that my smile is forced and not genuine.

I’ve only spent 40 minutes of my life with Isabelle, but I can tell that she is one cool ass chick. In a professional photo shoot, I need to be directed and Isabelle took charge and directed Edward and I while still maintaining a relaxed, fun vibe. If your photographer is stressed or frustrated, you will sense that and also become stressed; and no one wants to see stress in their photos, because it will show up in your prints.

Isabelle has a great sense of humor which makes you feel at ease and adds to the pureness of the smiles and effortlessness in your photos.


Isabelle also convinced Edward to don the Santa hat, which he absolutely swore would not go anywhere near his head.


Now that Isabelle, she is truly a miracle worker.


The photo shoot was so much fun and Isabelle is great! I honestly felt like I was hanging out with one of my long time friends. That’s how comfortable she makes you feel!

If you have the chance, you should definitely book a photo shoot with Isabelle. Do it! Do it!

Visit Isabelle Selby Photography to see more of Isabelle’s work. And also check out the ‘Trash the Dress’ photo shoot on Danfredo Rivera.



Happy December and Happy Holiday Season!!

~ Louise C.

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