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Showing posts from 2007

Merry Merry Xmas

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Merry Late Christmas to all!

Well, now that it's past the big day I can share what we got as gifts. Trevor & I split the cost of a 52" LCD Flatscreen tv. And while the frugal Fanny in me feels uncomfortable with such a big purchase, it's very long overdue and it's something we'll enjoy many hours of entertainment from.

I pulled his Aunt Deborah from the hat, so I got her a nice Nike workout outfit that coordinated together. (Matchy matchy is so 80's. You want to coordinate.) Trevor pulled Susan, but since we haven't seen her I have no idea if she opened her gift anytime recently. Other than that we didn't stress too much about gifts. I got my mother many Vichy products and I got my father a shot glass set because, would you ever believe it? He actually asked for one. I think he's going to use it for this vile tasting "medicine" composed of little more than what looks like bark, leaves, wood, and random dried plant type things fer…

Pre-Christmas Prep

Happy Almost Christmas. I spent my day baking, which is pretty normal for me anyway, but I typically don't bake more than one thing but having Christmas on the horizon I decided to go all out.

I made a cheesecake, since I still have some remnants of cheesecake desire from my prior visit to The Cheesecake Factory. I just made a plain one because I couldn't decide on a flavored one and I'd hate to make an already rich dessert even richer. And I made biscotti for my mom because she loves it. I made butter shortcake cookies because I have a soft spot for that buttery richness.

And in a final moment I decided I also wanted some peanut butter oatmeal cookies. I don't even like peanut butter, but when mixed with other things, as long as I don't have that mouth full of goo feeling I don't find it half bad.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup butter softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup of flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baki…

The Cheesecake Factory

I'm the last person in the world to talk about work because...ugh...work is boring. I talk about work like 40 hours a week, and that's probably 40 hours too many. lol But I have to say that my manager Sean is really nice. He took the whole team out to a holiday lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. And he let us out of work at 11am only to return around 1:30pm after enjoying a very long relaxing lunch. Of course, the downside was that I still had 8 hours of work awaiting me at my desk and at least half a dozen "fires" to put out. Ugh. :-P But focusing on the positive, lunch was very nice and although I'm very friendly with all my coworkers anyway it was refreshing to not be chit chatting about work.

I've been to the Cheesecake Factory one other time. It seems to be a very popular establishment since even at 11:30 there was a line out the door. "Really? On a random Tuesday?" Yes. Apparently people go buck wild over gigantic portions of food and …

Party Dress....Excell-ent!

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If you can't tell by my masterful spelling up there, my title is meant to be pronounced a la Wayne's World's cliche "Party time! Excell-ent!"I've been sort of hush-hush about my whole wedding planning thing. To be fair, I haven't done very much recently because I've been much more concerned about the holidays and because I'm almost at the point where I want to get married tomorrow just to get it over with. lol

But, Liza, Trevor's mother and my soon to be mother-in-law, bought me a little black party dress as a late birthday gift. Unfortunately for me it was a bit too large for my willowy frame and they had no similar dresses at my local mall for me to exchange it for. But I had Friday off and spent it with my parents shopping, so with a bit of help from my mom, I found a replacement dress.

Now, I don't find little party dresses to be a particularly good investment since I usually only ever wear them one time, but I imagine that I'll n…

French Dip, ooh la la

Whew...it's stormy out there.

I was let out of work early today because of the snow, only to spend an hour driving about 15 miles back home. I'd complain more, but clearly I got home safe and sound and no harm was done. lol

I'm spending tomorrow with the folks because they also have the day off, plus they have an SUV so we can ever so slightly more easily get around town. Nothing against my Mazda, but it's not exactly made for snow. And since Trevor and mine mutual present is in stock at the store we bought it at I'll need my dad's help to pick it up. We talked about it and decided to share the expense of a "big ticket" present in lieu of buying one another small presents. I know it kind of goes against our whole saving-money-for-our-wedding thing, but I'll be excited to have a fancy present.

I'm actually a little sad I have to take time off from work because I've been swamped, but if I don't use my time it'll go away forever. …

Kappys Run

Happy December!

It's crazy how fast it all runs by. I took Friday off because I've acquired PTO that I never used and will have to use before the end of the year. My beloved Trevor also took the day off so we had a little daytime adventure of doing our semi-annual run to Kappy's, a liquor store chain in Massachusetts. I had never heard of Kappy's before Trevor, but it's a chain and I'd liken it to the most Walmart-like Liquor store I know of. In our neck of the woods you cannot purchase wine or spirits from your grocery store so you have to go to a liquor, or as we call it, "Package Store." And yes, if you walk into a package store and expect to be able to send a package they'll know you're not from around here.

Colloquialisms aside, Kappy's is Trevor's favorite package store because they're quite large and therefore sell at a slight discount to their smaller mom and pop competitors. Hard Alcohol is always sold at a high mark…

The singles and the engaged

Congrats to Jeff & Jill on their recent engagement!

Slowly but surely all the friends are getting married. Shaun and Joe beat us all, but the rest of us are getting there too.

In other relationship news, though not quite as exciting unfortunately, Kim and her live-in boyfriend Ryan have broken up. I put off posting about it though in hopes that they'd work it out. Particularly since they live together and still share a bedroom I thought it was inevitable that they'd kiss and make up but a week has passed so far and nothing's been happening. I still sort of hope that they'll re-kindle their flame, but the heart wants what it wants and if they can manage living together without an awful lot of awkwardness then I guess being apart isn't the end of the world either.

All of Kim's friends are single and quite ready to mingle. lol Kim lives with Anya, Anya's friends with Viki, Viki's friends with Dianna...and so on and so on. So, usually I'd be con…

Happy Birthday, Kelly

Happy Birthday to me :)

I spent my morning at the mall with my parents. I bought a blouse at Express and my mom bought me a cute mini blazer and magenta tank top as a birthday gift to me...that I picked out. I didn't attempt to try and buy any kind of electronics today for fear of being totally trampled. I can't think of anything I need anyhow since I bought myself a digital camera last November, Trevor got me a mp3 player last February and I just bought this laptop this past summer before we went to Japan. Apart from my annoying Razr phone I can't think of anything else I'd like to upgrade but even that will be coming on it's 2 year renewal in January.

The food today was fantastic. Mom made a fantastic turkey and Chinese stir-fry with shrimp, squid, carrots, celery, napa cabbage and mushrooms. I just made the sides. Mashed potatoes, stuffing with cranberry, corn with chopped onions and baked sweet potatoes. Oh, and the cranberry bread, but by the end everyon…

Turkey Greetings

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Trevor & I have come back from our dinner with his family & I'm quite full. It was what I'd consider a normal standard Thanksgiving with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls and apple pie. I also brought some Pistachio Cream Puffs. Though they were not as...puffy as I'd like I can still say they tasted good and everyone seemed to be of the same mind that it still came out tasty. It was a very jovial time, though sadly Candice and Uncle Kevin were feeling under the weather.

Devin is also going to be hopping on a flight out early tomorrow morning because he works in retail and he couldn't get Black Friday off. So sadly he will not be available to spend my birthday with me, but there are plenty enough birthdays for that later.

I spent yesterday in the kitchen for hours getting the pie and puffs done. Along with that I also made a cranberry walnut bread for my mother who is a sweet bread fan. So my apartment …

Thanksgiving plans

Happy almost Turkey day!

I am spending Thanksgiving day with Trevor's family, minus his mom who has volunteered herself to nurse her recently-out-of-surgery boyfriend Dino back to health. But Trevor's Aunt Christine was nice enough to take on the role after Liza had other obligations. I've been volunteered by Trevor to bring dessert, so I'll probably bring my Caramel Apple Pie since I've yet to perfect any Pumpkin Pie recipes.

I like pumpkin pie, but unlike many other pies I don't know if I'd be willing to eat a whole one by myself so I've yet to be motivated to make one. My mom and dad aren't big fans so I couldn't even pawn off some slices on them, like I usually do.

I like turkey, but what I really like best are side dishes like garlic mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, candied sweet potatoes, corn and stuffing. I'm a side dish fan much more than turkey, but I do appreciate exotic leftovers made out of turkey, like turkey burritos, t…

S'mores Pie and a Girls night out

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So somewhat against my better instincts I went out yesterday evening with Kim and the girls. Not that I don't think all the girls are fun because I think they're a very nice and outgoing bunch; I just didn't have a terribly good feeling about going out...call it a gut feeling.

I'll start by saying that I'll keep this as un-gossipy as possible because otherwise it would take forever to recount.

Ryan got in a car accident that same evening and Kim was a bit miffed at him so she wasn't starting on a terrible positive note. Anya was mad at some guy about something (I forgot his name, but I do remember her screaming on her cell phone about how much she hated him). For a while everyone was lost. Martha and Kim had to fetch Martha's credit card from The Salty Dog because she forgot to close out her tab. They then were not re-let into Fat Cat's because it was so late and they weren't letting in any new patrons so they hung out outside for a while freezin…

Keep Rollin' Rollin' Rollin...

I saw Kim yesterday because she was super excited about her new car.

Yes, she got a new car. Now, I haven't experienced any mechanical problems with my Mazda at all, and it's over 2 years old, but Kim seems to have constantly experienced issues with hers including her airbag light going on unnecessarily, a weird humming noise, 2 accidents, and many, many lost hubcaps. The icing on the cake was that she was having issues going in Reverse, which meant around $2,000 to repair the transmission. Mind you, the car is under 3 years old.

So instead she decided to trade that car in and get a new one, and this time a white Scion TC, 2 door coupe. Now, I have to say that it's very cute and sporty looking and of course it's got the brand new shiny car appeal. She went for an upgraded version with a spoiler, rims (not hubcaps), and a bazillion airbags. As can be expected, Kim is beyond the moon with excitement. We celebrated by taking a spin in her new ride and going to Spr…

Fried Rice

I'm surprised that as I get older things I never thought I'd like I eventually change my mind about.

For example I have recently decided that I like Perrier Mineral water. I haven't ever liked mineral water before because it's always had a weird aftertaste but I gave it a go and actually find it to be very refreshing. Growing up my dad used to make me lemonade or limeade (depending on what we had on hand) but instead of water he'd use seltzer water so it had great fizz.

And I've spent literally most of my life avoiding apples because it's given me a bad itchy reaction but suddenly I've been very apt to slicing one open into 8 slices and snacking on it with Trevor after dinner.

Now, as a continuation of my last post, fried rice is a perennial favorite. Even the pickiest of eaters will usually be more than happy to have some of my fried rice. Trevor in particular seems very fond of it when either I or my mother whip some up for him. Since I learn fro…

Bridesmaid dresses!!! And Zuppa

I got my cousin Suong her bridesmaid gown via mail and it's soooo adorable. I'm probably more excited about it than she is. It's so chic and simple, though I worry a little that in spite of the fact I got her a double zero petite (yes, they make such a size) that it's probably going to be a tad roomy for her. Emily and Nini are down with getting their dresses too. The lone standout right now is Kim.

Not like I think she's intentionally holding out out of spite; she's having a bit of a tough stretch right now having maxed out her credit cards and having some car issues so bridesmaid dress isn't high on her priority list. I guess if she ends up paying full price for a bridesmaids gown in the same color as the other girls that's no big deal to me but I'd much rather her simply buy it now since I've gone through so much trolling around the internet for good prices.

And I finally met up with Amanda this past week! We had dinner at TGIFridays an…

What a Navel Idea

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I decided to take out my navel ring. I know that doesn't seem like a terribly big deal, but since I've had my navel pierced since January of 2001, it's been almost 7 years and I think it's only natural that you start to think of it as an extension of yourself.

I mostly took it out because it started to feel really thin, like the bar was slowly pulling it's way out. And I'm at a point in my life where it's no big deal anymore. I'm hardly walking around in tiny tops and eventually I was planning on taking it out anyhow. (I don't think anyone wants to see a big bulbous pregnant belly trying to hold on to a tiny little piercing.) It's only been about two days and I'm actually surprised that it's healing so quickly. I imagine that in a few months you won't even notice anything was there to begin with.

I'm also excited about my new purse. I got a little Calvin Klein shoulder bag since the one Trevor got me has become worn at the s…

Bridal stuff

Unfortunately the Bridal Fair was a snooze fest. It was small so there wasn't anything to keep us busy for more than 30 minutes but on the bright side I got to spend time with Trevor away from our apartment and away from his computer. Next time I probably won't drag Trevor along and I'll probably just drop in towards the end.

In semi-wedding related news I got my attendants gifts in the mail. :) I just got gifts for my bridesmaids and I know...I know...it's way too early for that, but I wanted to make sure that I could get 4 of the same thing. If you wait too long and try to shop bargains you'll never be able to get four of a kind of anything and if you do it'll be wildly lame.

Speaking of bridesmaids, Emily went down and tried on the bridesmaid dress I liked since she's closer to good merchants in NYC than I am in CT. And she even took a picture with her camera phone for me to see :) What a great friend, huh? I won't post it though because the dr…

Shopping Memories

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It's been a sleepy rainy day for me.

I don't like to complain about real life too much (mostly because I don't like hearing other people do it) but after working 4 1/2 hours of overtime in addition to my normal 40 hours I felt a little overextended and decided to sleep in.

Today was very uneventful. I didn't bake a single thing! I did however throw together a nice dinner of Seafood Risotto.

I'm a huge risotto fan. I think it reminds me of a mix between mashed potatoes and rice. It's creamy, but flavorful. Not just mushy overcooked rice. For 2 cups of arborio rice there were about 5-6 cups of chicken stock slowly mixed and cooked in with clams and shrimp and topped with fish. It turned out pretty well considering I'm a novice with this kind of rice. I'm much more acquainted with Jasmine rice and I could probably cook Jasmine rice in my sleep. The only thing I was missing was wine. Not being a big wine drinker I didn't have any white wine on ha…

Almond Pie Crust

It's taken a few tries, but I have finally figured out how to make a pie crust that is tasty, tender, flakey and practically fool proof!

Now, I don't consider myself a great pie-chef. In fact, I often leave pie crust on the plate because it's not my favorite part of the whole pie experience, but with a few tweaks it's actually quite yummy.1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour1/4 teaspoon salt1/2 cup shortening, chilled3 tablespoons ice water1 tsp almond extract (or any complimentary extract to our fillingMix, or sift together the flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. I don't think it makes too much of a difference. Try your best to mix in the shortening until it's crumbly. I personally like to cut up the shortening first into tiny bits before mixing. Slowly add in water and almond extract until it all comes together into a ball.

And this is the greatest trick for dough I never thought of. Tear a big piece of wax paper and place it on your counter and dislodge yo…

Jen's Goodbye Get-Together

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I'm a self-described shut-in.

I'm busy enough keeping my apartment ship-shape, spending time with my fiance, cooking our meals, running errands, going to work full time, sneaking in time for my family and planning my wedding. I simply haven't made it a priority to go out and party and do the things I used to do when I was single. Overall I lead a very simple, but fulfilling life and I wouldn't have it any other way. The only downside is that I spend significantly less time with Kim than I did before when our lives were less structured.

She works a ton of hours in an attempt to dig herself out of debt. I entirely commend her efforts; it's never too late to take an aggressive stance and take control of your life before you feel defeated by debt and limitations that it puts on you. I think Kim realized that she needed to be more proactive in order to achieve some of her long-term goals like getting a new car, buying a home, getting married...etc.

But this Saturday …

Motown Philly back again

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Trevor & I went to Philadelphia this weekend to visit his brother Devin. I actually haven't ever visited Devin in Philly, and Trevor had promised to help Devin with some computer building issues he had anyway so we took the opportunity to drive down this past weekend. We went down after work on Friday.

It took a few delays before we actually made it out of the apartment for once and for all. I think Trevor was so nervous about traffic that it entirely slipped his mind to make sure everything else was ship-shape first. I just assumed he took care of everything since my parents always made it a point to walk circles around the house before they left, to make sure the stove was off, the garbage was taken out, the thermostat wasn't on high...etc. I suppose I just thought that it was common sense and that Trevor had taken care of it since he kept on bugging me to hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry up.

But we still got to Philly just fine. We played on Devin's Wii (which was pre…

Mei Tzu Restaurant Review

Mei Tzu in 4 Prospect Hill Road, East Windsor CT.

Trevor and I had sushi there on Sunday after realizing that Oishi was closed that evening. So perhaps we didn't start off on the best foot since we wanted something else.

I got the fried dumplings and fried shrimp tempura. The tempura was way over-battered and the oil seemed to have lingering aroma. It didn't taste bad but I had the feeling the oil was tainted by something they fried beforehand, like fish or some other seafood. It was all cooked but it was just too thickly battered up so you could hardly taste the shrimp. Good tempura should have a very light crisp coating and not mask whatever food it's encasing.

The dumplings I had were pretty good, but a tad too gingery. On the other hand, I got a very generous portion of 8 fried dumplings instead of the usual 4 or 5.

Trevor had sushi because he can't go to a new place and not have the sushi. It was mediocre. I'd say 2 1/2 out of 4 stars for the overall exper…

You look just like...

Oyama Restaurant Enfield CT Part 2

Restaurant Review time!!!

Oyama, Enfield CT. We went back last weekend because Trevor wanted to give them a 2nd chance. Our first experience was particularly horrible, but perhaps their hot food would be better. Hot food has a tendency to be easier to throw together than sushi which is entirely dependent on a good fish distributor. They had hibachi grills set up and we thought that at least we could be entertained with an interesting chef.

The first thing that hit me was how expensive it was. The menu listed one price, but once the bill came each entree came up being a few bucks more each. For around $20 an entree, it's pretty steep. I had the salmon and Trevor went for the steak.

We had to wait around 10 minutes for a chef to come and start tossing food around. When you're at a restaurant with nothing to look at it feels like an eternity. Soup and salad came. Soup was pretty much just water and 4 paper thin mushroom slices; it was probably the sorriest excuse for sou…

Duck Duck...

I also have this innate Asian mentality of showing my love with food. So I want to make food, and I want to feed my loved ones to show how much I care about them. I don't know a single Asian woman that doesn't want to make sure all of her loved ones are well fed. I guess it's just part of one's desire to nurture.

I made some Chinese BBQ Pork on Wednesday (just the meat part of the recipe; I didn't have the patience to make the dumpling dough) and it was really good. I wouldn't say it's like the Char Siu you'd get at the Asian market with the pink-y sauce but still very savory and moist.

Trevor insisted on having some duck this year so I brought home a duck and we baked it with some of his favorite teriyaki sauce on each side and then finished it with some time on the grill. I can't say duck is terribly healthy for you, but I think it's important to indulge yourself once and so often so you don't feel like you're just a robot. You s…

Ahhh my face!

I haven't threaded in a while. If by chance you aren't blessed enough to know what it is, you can read up on it right here. I have to say that I've been doing it for years and I still don't entirely like it. Long story short, it hurts a lot but it's effective and cheap and thus the reason why I do it. I probably don't do it enough, but it's hard to muster up excitement in regards to ripping out hair from your tender face.

My mom does it and through a bit of mimicry I eventually learned how to do it myself. It's simple enough in principle but it's pretty tough to get your hands to want to cooperate. In any case, I've subjected many an innocent friend, family member of loved one to threading because I think that it's the best way to rid yourself of facial hair. Unless you're a guy I don't think you should ever run a razor across your face, and I've heard too many waxing horror stories where someone's eyebrow gets accident…

Veil...in the mail

I got my veil in the mail. I can't show a picture of it because Trevor might see it and although it's just a buncha fluff I don't want to ruin the surprise of what I'll look like on our wedding. But I just have to say it looks gorgeous. I never thought a bunch of fluff would make that much of a difference but when I inevitably tried it on I found that it made me look like a little angel...even with my stringy unkempt hair and nerdy-girl glasses.

I don't know what it'll look like with my gown...so I'll have to just wait and see. My wedding gown is waiting for me at my parents' house so hopefully everything looks how I imagine it in my mind. Though my wedding gown doesn't fit me in the slightest so I can't really just try it on...at least not without a good deal of assistance to keep it from falling off my body.

It's exciting. Sometimes I'm surprised at how everything is falling together.

Oishi Sushi Review

Trevor and I are self described foodies. More specifically we're Japanese foodies, so when I perused through Yahoo Local and found a Japanese establishment within 20 miles of our home it warranted trying to track it down and give it a try. Oishi does not have a website at present otherwise I'd link it up. Oishi is located at 1455 Riverdale Street,West Springfield, MA, 01089

The owner is Korean, which is a welcome change to a landscape that so far has been full of Chinese restaurateurs. I wouldn't say his menu sticks to all the traditions, but it has be best "spirit" of Japanese culture and food. It's hard to describe, but really good Japanese food is made with care and attention to detail. I feel like the owner really cares about his food and really cares about maintaining good relations with his patrons.

There's nothing wrong with Chinese restaurateurs; they just have a tendency to have terrible service. Their staff is rarely attentive or nice. I u…

Mom-glish

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My overall wedding planning has stalled. The only vendor left to worry about would be the photographer.

Realistic Kelly knows that in twenty years or so I'm not going to care about having a ton of wedding pictures because no one ever looks at them. I've only ever seen like 2 pictures of my own parents' wedding day and I think that's plenty.

Wedding Kelly however is neurotic and wants to be sure that someone at the wedding knows how to take a picture that doesn't make me look like a cow. Plus since I've already vetoed having a videographer I know that my mother will have a heart attack if there aren't a bazillion pictures to make up for that.

I love my mother. And at face value she's a pretty cool chick, but she rules with an iron fist. I feel this is true of most every Asian momma. She has said that it's my wedding and I can do what I want, but having years of "mom-glish" under my belt I know that really means "I'd rather you d…