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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Golden Tree: December 2nd-4th 2010

Come shop at The New York Junior League!

This Friday, I’ll be volunteering all day at The New York Junior League. Golden Tree is a holiday themed shopping event at the headquarters on the Upper East Side. Proceeds go towards the non-profit organization and there are going to be tons of fun events Thursday-Saturday so come stop by!

Always one of Junior League's most festive fundraisers, Golden Tree combines premiere shopping with distinctive foods and beverages, making the event a fantastic way to ring in the holiday season while supporting the charitable endeavors of the NYJL. During the event, the League transforms into a veritable one-stop shopping destination, with a large variety of vendors offering goods ranging from clothing, apparel and accessories to kitchenware, linens and gifts for the home. In addition to shopping, the event will feature daytime entertainment and activities for the first time. On Thursday and Friday evenings, shopping will be complimented by live music, delicious hors d'oeuvres, raffle prizes and a heated outdoor tent housing a whiskey and cigar bar, always a favorite with Golden Tree’s gentlemen patrons! On Saturday, December 4 the League opens its doors to all of Santa’s littlest helpers for Golden Tree Kids! Children of all ages are welcome to take part in activities including arts and crafts, cookie decorating, and a visit from Santa himself!

Check out the website for more information and to purchase tickets:


Monday, November 22, 2010

Socially responsible shoes

When riding the subway, I constantly stare at people's shoes. I don't know if it's because I'm short and I tend to notice things closer to the ground of if I'm just curious to know what brand, color and style people like to wear. However, recently I couldn't help but notice everyone was wearing TOM's shoes. I have seen the commercials on TV but I kept thinking that if he made shoes just to donate another pair to a child in need they couldn't be that comfortable or high quality. However, if everyone is wearing them they can't be bad, right?

I decided to check out the website to see for myself. I didn't realize there were so many choices and colors. I've only seen 2 or 3 different ones in NY. For $40 it's bad a not bad considering if worst case scenario is I hate them or they are uncomfortable, at least I just gave a pair of shoes to a child in need...what's there to lose? After looking at all the colors, I ended up purchasing a pair in gray and I could not be happier. These shoes are very comfortable. They almost feel like an upscale pair of slippers but they have the traction of sneakers and ease of flats.

By purchasing these shoes it has made me a bit more aware of looking into the idea of buying socially responsible/ethical products. I carry a re-usable bag to the grocery store and try to use a mug or reusable water bottle but there are tons of products that are either made from recycled materials or that donate a portion of the profits to a good cause. TOM's shoes are wonderful and I will definitely be happy to purchase a 2nd pair.

Watch the video on the employees talking about their experiences doing a "shoe drop"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Budgeting across cities

When moving to different cities, it can be quite overwhelming to realize the difference in cost of living. Even within the tri-state area of NY, NJ and CT there are huge variances between living in the lap of luxury and living "on a budget" which can be difficult. Today I found an interesting budgeting article from LearnVest which talks about the "2010 Graduate Checklist"regarding post-college budgeting. There was an eye-opening budgeting chart between 4 major cities and I found it fascinating how different each box was from one section to the next!

Although I've mentioned how rent is outrageous in New York, the general expenses are as well. Food, entertainment, transportation and even things that shouldn't cost more like fitness-related expenses or eating healthy are more expensive! So, at the end of the day, it is so important to understand where you are spending your money and what you can do. Even little things like bringing lunch to work can add up over the course of a year. I used to walked 20 blocks from my office to my apartment and that saved me money on transportation and I got about 30 minutes of extra walking/exercise in my day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Simple Fall (extremely flavorful!) Dinners" at I.C.E with Allison

4 hour cooking class @ I.C.E + sample sale = perfect day off!

So today I finally made it to I.C.E. (Institute of Culinary Education) located next to my old building on 23rd Street. I walked in and was immediately greeting by our glowing instructor, Allison. With about 14 students, we did not waste time and tried to get right into our course.

The course was broken down into 3 parts:
Discussion & Demo (1 hr) - Allison went over a quick icebreaker discussing favorite Fall ingredients and did a brief apple tasting
Cook & Plate (2 hrs) - We all broke out into groups of 4-5 to take on cooking a piece of the dinner
Eat & Discuss (1 hr)- My favorite part, eating!

You may be wondering what was on the menu? Well, I'm glad you asked! You may begin salivating now...we enjoyed seared pork chops with caramelized apples and leeks, simple roasted chicken, seared scallops with butternut apple puree, tomato soup with camembert grilled cheese, alsatian tarte flambe, roast sweet potato fries, frisee salad and apple vinaigrette, creamy polenta and apple crumble.

My group broke out and did scallops, pork, polenta, an unsuccessful attempt at the squash puree, roasted chicken and the apple crumble. One of our members, Sal (the only male!), demonstrated how to "truss" a chicken which is wrapping the legs and wings towards the body so that it cooks evenly. He also suggested I take knife skills because I was not chopping correctly - I may look into that class if I want to keep my fingers! I also learned that you can peel an apple in one hand motion although I was literally taking piece by piece off and it took forever.

I helped out with the prep work for most of the dishes but was mainly in charge of the polenta. I guess I was whisking a bit vigorously at first but finally got into the grove. Man, it definitely requires a steady arm and continuous movement - no stopping or you'll get clumps. While I wasn't working, I loved to watch the scallops searing or check on Sal who kept busy on the pork chops in the skillet. Each member got to participate at their own comfort level which was nice because I definitely leaned on the more seasoned students.

Overall, this class was amazing! I learned a lot and it made me happy to be surrounded by people that enjoy cooking at all different levels (although I'm pretty sure no one raised their hands when Allison asked "raise your hand if you'd be afraid to host Thanksgiving dinner" which was cool). I am definitely signing up for more classes in the future and with Allison, she was great.

P.S. - She mentioned Meatless Mondays
Take one night a week to cut out meat consumption to help with personal health and reducing meat consumption thus helping the planet...what a great concept, thanks Allison!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Business Week - Sharing Entrepreneur Experiences via webcam

I stumbled upon an article in Business Week that mentioned Babson's Entrepreneur Experience Lab which "was created to put the voice and the experience of real world entrepreneurs at the center of an ongoing effort to design, develop and experiment with new ways to support entrepreneurs and accelerate new venture creation."

I am a huge fan of the 20 second video's that you can post yourself. Under the last one "What habits do you try to cultivate as an entrepreneur" I played all the videos and really enjoyed the advice.

Some common habits were:

- Focus
- Discipline
- Follow through
- Dream
- Think
- Be optimistic
- Learn something new
- Embrace failure

I think these are all great habits and it is inspiring to hear what is important to people. One women said that she wakes up every morning and asks herself how she can provide value today. To me, thinking outside of the box and being able to solve an un-met need with a solution or a business is a critically important habit which takes time to evolve.