Friday, July 30, 2010

Favorite Things Friday

I had originally intended for today's post to be devoted to the many items I want from the Lilly Pulitzer fall collection. However, after last night's unfortunate incident, my self esteem was pretty much shot. Inspired by How I Met Your Father, I decided I needed some therapeutic shopping and decided to go to the Tiffany & Co. site since nothing bad can happen to you at Tiffany. Therefore, I have chosen to devote today's post to things that I decided I want from Tiffany during my 1:43am window shopping spree.

Mini Bow Necklace, $115
Airplane Charm, $125
Pretzel Charm, $150
I am generally not a big fan of the Tiffany charms collection, but for obvious reasons, I need that plane and pretzel.

Knot Earrings, $150

I received these earrings as a graduation gift in high school, but unfortunately, they did not survive the many trips back and forth between school and home and became a casualty. I loved them and would very much like to see them get replaced.

Bean Earrings, $175

I received a Bean necklace as a gift when I got my American citizenship, and have been lusting after these for as long as I can remember.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

rude salesgirl

This is a little hard for me to type because it is about something that I am rather self-conscious about, but this blog is cathartic and I'm hoping that posting it will make me feel better.

At our BX there is a Kathe Wolfhart. Every time we go to the BX, it's our tradition to stop by in there and look around and buy an ornament. We went in there today. We were very clearly going to be the last
couple to walk in there and the salesgirl was eager to make a sale and kept  on talking to us. I am not fat by any means (I'm around a size 8), but I have a large stomach which I have always been self conscious about. The salesgirl
(who looks to be in her late twenties or thirties) asks me if I want a basket. To this TLS replies "don't encourage her" and the lady goes "but she's pregnant." Ummm what?! To this I say "I'm not pregnant." Her reply? "Yes you are." "No I'm nor." "Yes you are." "No I'm not." "Really?" And she just walked away. We were going to buy an ornament but I started crying and made TLS put it down and leave.

1) This was not an idiotic teenager working there for the summer. This was a fully grown woman who should have had enough customer service training and the tact to know when to stop.
2) What makes her think she's more qualified than I am to answer the question of what's in my uterus?

I should have either asked to speak to the manager right away and said something, or said "well I wasn't going to tell him for another few weeks" and embarrassed her that way.

I have been working out every day and have lost 4 pounds since I've been here so that really hurt. Going back to my sofa to cry now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

me want COOKIES!!!

Today, I attended a Spouses' Association Pictionary night. Even though my team lost, a good time was had by all. (How exactly does one draw mint jelly in under 60 seconds?!) It was a pot luck and I said I'd bring dessert. It's no secret that I love to bake, and I was eager to bake for someone either than TLS and the airmen in his squadron. I made two types of cookies, Rolo Cookies and Popcorn cookies. Both got completely devoured.

Rolo Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
unwrapped Rolo candies (about 4 dozen or so)
extra sugar for the plate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, cocoa, and soda in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add in vanilla and eggs. Let the mixer (or your fork if you're making them by hand) have several more goes at it. Slowly add in the flour mixture. Beat until all of the flour mixture is absorbed. If you are doing this by hand it may take a while. Pinch off a little piece of dough, and wrap it around a Rolo candy. Roll it into a ball. You want to make sure that the Rolo is completely covered by dough on all sides, otherwise, when the chocolate melts, the caramel will leak and stick to your cookie sheet. Pour some sugar onto a plate. You can use colorful sanding sugar for a pretty effect. Roll the dough ball in the sugared plate and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Repeat as necessary.
The finished product.

Popcorn Cookies
I don't have a picture of these, but they are delicious and got gobbled up rather quickly. Out of 3 dozen
cookies that I made today, only one is left, that one got saved for TLS's breakfast for tomorrow.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups flour
2 cups popped popcorn, crushed (I use the lowest calorie one I can find since it has the least amount of butter and salt)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour and baking soda. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture. Beat until absorbed. Add in pecans, chocolate chips, and popcorn. Stir to mix. Drop on a cookie sheet by rounded teaspoonful. Bake for 10 minutes.

Makes around 3 dozen.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sharing the La La

For those of you who don't already know, Rue La La is a fabulous invitation-only sample sale site. The sales usually last for 1-3 days and there is always a wide variety of brands/products available.  TLS and I are both big fans of the site and in the past have bought 2 Lilly Pulitzer polos, a set of Barbara Barry glasses for our house, a Mariposa vegetable dish, a Chicago Cubs sweatshirt for him, and some massage gift certificates for me. Rue La La has also had brands like David Yurman, Frette, Vineyard Vines, Honora Pearls, and Vera Bradley in the past. Pretty fabulous.

The fabulousity, my friends, does not end there. For the next two weeks, you can get a $10 credit to spend on anything your little heart desires from Rue La La simply for signing up! If you would like to join Rue La La, here is your personal invitation.

Monday, July 26, 2010

giveaway winner

I apologize for having been MIA from the blog again for the past few days. No real reason, just life. I realized that I never posted the winner for the last giveaway.

Congratulations to Jacqui. Please email me your info to whaleflipflops {@} gmail {.} com.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Need Recipe Help

Today I got to experience my first brush with moving with the military: the loss of personal items. Since I knew I would not be seeing my things for two months, I packed up several boxes and mailed them off to TLS so that I could have some of my things with me right away. When they all arrived, we just stacked them up in the hallway. Today, I  finally had the motivation to unpack. I was going through the boxes when I realized that at least one of the boxes I sent is missing. In it was my Hamsa (a good luck charm that's supposed to symbolize the hand of G-d protecting you), some kitchen accessories (spoon rest, etc.), several of my cookbooks, and the journal that I wrote down all of my recipes in.

I have a few of the recipes memorized, but unfortunately, I am going to have to start my journal all over again from scratch. If any of you have a favorite recipe that you would be so kind as to share with me, I would greatly appreciate it! Please comment with the recipes or send them to me at whaleflipflops {@} gmail {.} com. Since I am Jewish, please only send me recipes that are kosher (no pork, no meat and dairy in the same dish, and no shellfish). Thanks y'all!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lilly Pulitzer Agenda Question

Does anyone know if in addition to the 17th month agenda, Lilly will be offering a regular 12 month one? I have a Lilly day planner for 2010 that I love and don't want to quit using in August just because there's a new one out. I'm also not thrilled about the idea of buying a new agenda now, paying for 17 months and only using two thirds of it (January- December). I get why Lilly would make an agenda that corresponds with the school year, that makes perfect sense, but at age 27 and not being in school, I have zero use for a 17 month one. I really hope that Lilly continues to make the regular one as well. If not, there's always Kate Spade, I guess.

The Hermes Birkin Bag of Beer

Our first night in Brussels, TLS and I went to find a bar close to our hotel and La Grande Place to have a few drinks in. I am not a beer drinker by any means, but I adore all of the Belgian fruit beers, so my only requirement was that it have an extensive fruit beer list. We founds such a place with outdoor seating, and sat down. Unlike me, TLS is a huge beer fan, and was excited to try some more Belgian beers. All of the beers ranged in price from 1,70-6,00€, and there was one outlier that cost 12€. Thinking it either had to be a typo, or a jeroboam of beer instead of just your normal glass, we asked the waiter about it. He told us "it's the best beer in the world, but I'm out of it for the month." This, of course, made us even more curious and made TLS want it even more. When we got back to our hotel room, we did a Google search for it.

The beer in question is called Westvleteren. It is made by Trappist monks in Belgium. They make only what they need, and no more. If you want to buy the beer, you need to order it directly from the abbey. They have a phone number that you call, and you have to give them your license plate number. Each person is allowed to buy one case of beer/license plate/month. You need to order the beer two months in advance. Once you have called for the month, the system will recognize your number and will block it from getting through again for the end of the month. The beer comes in bottles without labels and it is against the monk's wishes to resell the beer. If you do that, you can lose all of your ordering privileges. This makes it surprising that the bar would put it on their menu. I guess it doesn't get many Trappist monks as visitors. Since 2002, it has been ranked as the best beer in the world, giving it even more of a cult following.

Our second night in Belgium, I decided to be coy and just walk into one of the beer shops and try to order the Hermes Birkin Bag of Beer and see what the proprietor would say. This is when being a girl helped. The proprietor told me that because of the high demand but low supply, it is very expensive for stores to carry the beer, so it is actually illegal in Belgium to sell Westvleteren if you are able to get your hands on some. He did tell me that another one of the beer shops in Brussels does sell it illegally.* At this point, TLS was overjoyed at my cleverness and you would have thought that Hannukah came early.

The next day, we made a pilgrimage to the anonymous beer store. After loading up two bags with two dozen beers, at the cash register I once again very sweetly mentioned that there was a great beer I had heard about that I just needed to try, I could not remember the name, if was Westvsomething or other, would they by any chance carry it? The woman at the cash register told me that they did carry it, and from a locked cabinet behind the register, produced three unmarked bottles of beer, one of each of their varieties. We asked to purchase one of each. The cost, 7,95€, or $10.25 in today's prices. That's right, we paid over $30 for just three bottles of beer. I have to say that I felt a bit like I was in the Prohibition era walking down the streets of Brussels carrying three unmarked bottles of illegal beer in my hand.
Last night, TLS drank the first of the three Westvleterens, the blond one. He said that it could best be described as a religious experience. I am not a beer fan by any means, but I had a few sips of his beer and I have to say that it was pretty darn good. We are now trying to get on the monks' waiting list. Which is words that I never thought my Jewish mouth would say.

*For confidentiality reasons, I will not post the name of it on my blog. However, if you are planning on going to Belgium and would like to try some, you can email me and I will give you the name of the shop.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Germany vs. the United States

Last week, I attended a New Spouses' Orientation on base. The purpose of this was meant to teach us some pointers about living in Germany and German culture. The class was led by a German native named Haagen, and it took me a lot of self- restraint to keep my mouth shut. (Even after someone says his name five times, in your mind, the ice cream joke is still funny.) While I am generally not a morning person and had immense difficulty just keeping my eyes open at some parts, a few things from the orientation stuck with me and I thought I'd share them will all of you.

The first thing that struck out was that Germans are a lot more eco-friendly than Americans are. Rather than cutting down on the amount of plastic that is used in water and soda bottles, and making a flimsy product, plastic bottles here are very thick and heavy, and rather than being recycled, they are reused. After you bring your bottles back to the store or recycling facility, they are cleaned, sanitized, and returned to the companies to be refilled. In order to ensure that you do, in fact, return your bottles, the deposit here is high, 0,25€ per bottle (about $0.40). While I don't see this being successful in the United States, this makes a lot of sense. Reusing extends a product's life span considerably and uses significantly less energy and resources than recycling does. In order to encourage their customers to be eco-friendly and only take what they need, German grocery stores don't give out shopping bags. If you need a bag, you can buy one, at our supermarket the cost ranges from 0,06-0,19€, but most people bring their own. (I have an adorable Lilly Pulitzer market tote for just this reason.)

Recycling in general in Germany is a much bigger deal than it is in the United States. We pay a garbage fee of 80,00€ per year and that includes our trash pick up, recycling pick up, and garbage bags. The bags here are color coded. Regular garbage goes in your trash bin, glass bottles are either returned to the store for the deposit or are put in separate bins depending on the color of the bottle. No joke. You can not recycle your white wine bottle and your green beer bottle in the same bin. It's simply not done. Paper is collected into yellow bags that you're given. Once a month, on specific paper recycling days, you leave the yellow bags outside and the garbage collectors get them. This is the one that I am having the most trouble with. While I have always recycled, here it's a whole new level. You are expected to put every.single.piece.of.paper that you have in your yellow bag. It's easy to remember things like magazines and flyers, etc. but envelopes from our bills? That box our Pop Tarts came in? Wrapping paper from my birthday gifts? Not so much.

Even though Germany is completely safe and we should not worry about dangerous snakes, Haagen (see? I told you it's still funny!) felt the need to do a 15 minute presentation on snakes in Germany and which are venomous and which aren't. This did so much to help relax me. Afterwards, he once again pointed out that after snakes in Germany are not, in fact, dangerous and that the most dangerous animal in Germany is a wild boar during mating season. (At this point, I had to stifle a giggle as I pictured a wild board attempting to fornicate with a lamp post in the streets of Frankfurt.)

Also, in order to avoid paying credit card fees, many stores simply won't take credit cards. They will take debit cards, but this does not help us out as we do not have a German bank account. In America, it's fairly common to see a minimum amount for credit card purchases, but here, some stores won't take them at all. Ikea, and Saturn (the German version of a Best Buy) won't accept them, for example. Imagine going to a store to buy a sofa or a washing machine and having to pay for it in cash!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today I am 27 years old. Something which is a little hard for me to say. Not because I feel old. Which I don't. (I am very proud to say that at 27 years old I still have flawless baby butt skin.) But because it just sounds weird. I keep on telling everyone that remember how when we were little, 27 seemed so old and so far away? Well 27 is here folks.
I got my presents from TLS last night- a pair of dangly pearl drop earrings, a Swarovski crystal bunny to add to my collection (she's the first non-duck in my Swarovski crystal figurine family), and an AAFES gift card (that he only bought for me because it was pink and green. He knows me so well.). I got a pink Canon Powershot from my parents, so will probably use the gift card at the Vera Bradley section to buy a coordinating case for it. Tomorrow, we are also leaving for a two day birthday trip to Brussels. Can't wait!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

birthday month giveaway #4

It is no secret that I love tea. At my apartment back in New York, I had an entire cabinet that was devoted solely to teas. Every time I travel someplace new, I almost always come back with at least one box of local tea. Therefore, it is only natural that I do a tea giveaway. Fellow blogger *kimmie* shares the same affection for tea as I do and we have bonded over this. She has even started a new blog that is devoted solely to tea! How fabulous!

To celebrate her blog and my birthday, Kimmie has generously offered to sponsor a giveaway. The winner will receive an IngenuiTEA teapot, a guide to tea, and 4 oz. of a blend of tea of the winner's choice.
To enter this giveaway, please visit AdaptabiliTEA and say which blend of tea you'd like to receive for one entry. Follow my blog for a second entry. Follow AdaptabiliTEA for a third entry. Blog about this giveaway for a fourth entry. For a fifth entry, follow me on twitter and tweet the link to this giveaway, along with @adaptabilitea. (You must include both the giveaway link and @adaptabilitea in your tweet for your entry to count.) Please leave all entries in one comment only. This giveaway will run until Tuesday, July 20th at midnight EST.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mail mix up

This week, I had a slight panic breakdown. I discovered that a giveaway item I had won got returned to sender because it was addressed to me c/o TLS. Overseas, using the APO is a privilege, not a right, so until I get command sponsored, I am not allowed to receive mail here on base under my name. I was informed that any mail addressed to me would be discarded or returned to sender. This 1) explained why I never got that J. Crew package with the super cute flip flops, and 2) caused me to break down into tears as I realized that I would not be receiving any birthday cards from my friends this year, and that all of my mail (including my last American cell phone and electricity bills) was getting forwarded to our APO address. I love getting mail. I love the thrill of oprlening a mail box and seeing something in there with my name on it, I love seeing what cute stationery my friends are using, and I love the little break that I get in my day to read and write cards. I usually try to send out several letters or cards a week, so for me to not be able to receive mail is downright tragic.

After my twitter and facebook breakdowns,I have received quite a few questions asking about sending me mail. To everyone who asked,here is the answer:
*any packages (anything weighing more than one pound) for me need to be addressed to TLS. You can put "for MRM" on the box.
*cards can be addressed to me, but they have to be put in care of TLS. To be better safe than sorry, also send those to TLS, and put for MRM somewhere on there. A sorority sister and fellow blogger sent me a card like this and I got it today! It made my whole day and I was so happy to finally have mail that I whimpered a little in the base mail room.

I can not wait until I am command sponsored and can get mail under my own name again!!!

If you have sent me anything in the past few weeks and I have not acknowledged it, please do not be offended, rather take it to mean that I did not receive it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

giveaway winner and an apology

It has been brought to my attention by both TLS and Snoopy that I have gone MIA from the blog. (Yes, my fiance actually called in the beagle for an intervention.) For that, I truly apologize. It was never my intent to abandon this blog when I moved, but we have a Wii Fit, and while  TLS is at work, it is my calling to beat him off of the scoreboards. Thanks to the beagle and the boy, however, I have seen the error of my ways and will stick to only beating him in the evenings so that I can blog during the day.

I swear that I will have a real blog post coming this week, but until then, I wanted to post the winner for the Personalized Dabney Lee Catchall, so with much fanfare, pomp, circumstance, and confetti, as befits a giveaway winner, I give a hearty salute to SouthernBelleJM! Congrats girl! Email me your info.

We bought a case of 6 bottles of wine today only to discover that they don't all fit into our tiny German kitchen, so now I am off to remedy that situation along with a little help from my friends.

Until next time, auf Wiedersehen.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

birthday month giveaway #3

Thanks to I'm Just a Girl, the winner of this giveaway will receive this beautiful personalized Dabney Lee catchall from the Paper Concierge. This catchall is on my wishlist, but since I can't win, one of you will just have to instead. 
To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment with your favorite item from the Paper Concierge for one entry. Become a follower of my blog for a second entry. "Like" her page on facebook for a third entry. Blog about this giveaway for a fourth entry. Follow me on twitter AND tweet this giveaway link for a fifth entry. You will also receive an entry for everyone who enters and says you referred her. Please leave all entries in one comment only. This giveaway will run from now until Friday, July 9th, at midnight EST.

Many thanks to I'm Just a Girl for sponsoring this giveaway.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Dollface! You won my Preppy Princess Lilly Pulitzer stationery giveaway. Please email me your info and the patterns of your choice to whaleflipflops {@} gmail {.} com. If you didn't win this one, don't despair, I have a few more in the works!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

in Germany!

Thank you to everyone for all of your kind words and well-wishes. I arrived yesterday in Germany in the morning. It is a 6 hour time difference from NY and being that my flight was at 6:35pm and it was chock full of screaming kids with quite developed lung capacities (do parents not believe in pacifiers any more?) I got about 40 minutes of sleep only. Needless to say, I was exhausted and my contacts were dryer than the Sahara. TLS picked me up at the airport and drove me home after a quick pit stop at an authentic German restaurant by the name of McDonald's. When I got off the plane, I was complaining how every part of my body (up to and including my left big toe) was hurting and I needed a full body massage badly. TLS said "that can be arranged." When I got in his car, he said "look in the glove compartment" and in there was a gift certificate to a spa for a massage. He learned major points with that one! The drive home was absolutely breathtaking. So much greenery. The best part, by far, was getting to finally ride on the autobahn. We were going 116 at one point. So thrilling! He took me to our house to drop off my things then we went onto base. Our house is an apartment in a three family building where each floor is its own apartment. The second and third floors were converted into a duplex apartment, which is where we live. So we have about 4-5 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms for two people. Not bad. I'm very glad about the stairs because they will hopefully help with the wedding dress workout.

Europeans have a different standard of living than Americans do. One major difference is storage space. In Europe, it is generally very much socially acceptable to wear the same outfit to school or work or just out and about  for 2 or even 3 days in a row. In America, not so much. (I once stayed with a family friend in Belgium for about a week and went to school with her. All of the girls in her class had very nice, super trendy outfits on. Two days later, they all were still wearing those same exact outfits. She told me "the only reason I wore different outfits each day is because you're visiting me and that's what they do in your country.") Europeans tend to have a lot less clothing/shoes and just "stuff" in general than we do. Also, it is almost unheard of  for a house in Europe to have closets. We don't even have a linen or coat closet! Europeans just usually buy wardrobes and keep all of their clothes in them. (Keep in mind European bedrooms are also smaller than American ones!) Americans who are stationed here usually just end up getting more rooms than they need. TLS and I both each took one of the unused bedrooms to use as walk-in closets. I gave TLS the ugliest room in the house, which I nicknamed "the Bordello." I really want to know what kinds of mind-altering substances the architect/designer was on when designing this room. Naturally, I gave myself the prettiest room in the house. The walls are a really pretty shade of blue (think a slightly more saturated version of Lilly's Shorely Blue) and it had a really cute short lace curtain already hanging up on the window. The previous tenants had also used it as a closet and had installed shelves and clothes rods onto the walls. Lets just say that the color of the wall complements all of my Lilly beautifully.

Then we drove on base. TLS's former base in England was a really teeny tiny base. Small enough that it did not have its own commissary or BX (Base Exchange) and the nearest medical facility in case of an emergency was actually an overseas civilian hospital. By contrast, the base we're at now is the biggest Air Force base outside of the United States. Needless to say they have a lot more things/resources available to us here which makes me happy. As many of you know, I am a total princess, and am very picky about which hair and beauty products I use. While the BX here does not sell Fekkai and I will need to order that offline, I was over the moon ecstatic to learn that they have almost the full range of Philosophy products here, at a slight discount!

After the BX, TLS and I went to lunch at Chili's on base. You may turn up your nose, but I've never been to one before. In NYC, all of the chain casual dining restaurants were in Times Square which I tended to avoid like the plague. At this point, I was so tired, I was yayclose to forgetting what my own name was, but we had no food in the house for me for lunch for today, so we needed to go to the commissary. We ended up buying more in the form of cleaning products than food (this is how TLS knows that he no longer lives alone) and my big excitement of the day was finding some German brand pudding cups that  had Snoopy and Woodstock on them! (Not only were they adorable, but they were also delicious. Unlike Jello brand ones, they were very light and fluffy and did not leave us feeling heavy afterward. Perfection.) On our way back home, TLS tried to give me a tour of base in the car, and I slept through most (all) of it. When we got home, I took a much-needed hot shower and we opened a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Rose to toast to our new house. (Yes, even my champagne is pink. Although in all fairness, I do prefer the original.)

My big plan for today was to unpack, clean the house, and get settled in. Yea, that didn't happen. TLS and I are both very competitive, especially when it comes to our Wii scores and in the three months since I got to use the Wii Fit, he managed to knock of all of my high scores off the scoreboard. My revised plan for today was to return the favor for when he got home.  It is now 3:09pm, he gets home in about 2 hours, and I have yet to be successful in that endeavor.