Wednesday, July 31

July

July has been quite the month. I feel like I have done so much and so little all at the same time. We began July with a trip to our friend's bay house in Maryland to celebrate the Fourth and ended it with the bar exam, though technically we will be starting August with it as well. Today is the multi-state and tomorrow is Massachusetts. In between we saw a few shows at UCB, brewed a watermelon beer that is almost ready to be tasted, and spent a couple of afternoons soaking in the sun at the beach. 

My month according to instagram.

PS. I have changed my name on instagram to reflect the new blog name. 
You can now find me @proseccointhepark

Tuesday, July 30

Changes / Relaunch

There are going to be some big changes happening later today/tomorrow. I am planning to relaunch the blog, changing the name and design. I have been wanting to do this for a while. Having been out of college for so long now, it just doesn't feel right to call myself a post grad anymore. I wanted to come up with a new name that would allow me to write about everything and anything, whether it be about travel, fashion, food, or sailing... you get the point, all encompassing. In trying to think of a new name for the blog, I started writing down things that I liked, favorite words, colors, animals, activities. It wasn't going well. The Blue Koala, anyone? One day back in the Spring I found myself reminiscing about our trip to Italy in the Spring of 2012. One of my fondest memories from the trip is splitting a bottle of prosecco over gelato in a beautiful piazza in Florence in the late afternoon. We sat in the grass, admiring the gorgeous, ornate architecture of the Italian buildings and watched the sun dip slowly behind them. When we got to Rome we did the same thing, except that time it was shared over lunch in a park overlooking the city. Thus, Prosecco in the Park was born. I thought it had a nice ring to it, and could lend itself well to any topic. And it doesn't hurt that it also brings to mind happy thoughts of spending time with my best friend. 

So please don't be alarmed when and/or if you click on my page later and it is different. 
I am hoping to get everything up by tomorrow at the very latest.


PS. Good luck to my wonderful, brilliant, talented, lovely JD on the bar exam today!

Friday, July 26

Summer Stripes


one. blouse . two. shorts . three. sandals . four. clutch . five. lipstick

I love stripes, especially in the warmer months. I have been drooling over this Joie top for far too long now but have yet to pull the trigger and just get it. Part of me is hoping that it will go on sale soon with all of the summer clothing and I can scoop it up then. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, July 24

Heat Wave

The heat wave last week was brutal. I don't mind hot temperatures, it's the humidity that does me in. I'm not a fan of the heavy air or feeling like you're walking through soup. It's just uncomfortable. It finally broke on Saturday, so we decided to spend a few hours at the beach. It was still hot but somehow the breeze coming in off the ocean made it feel less threatening. I love the beach. This time we walked to the other side, to the right of the tunnel, since it was less crowded and we wouldn't have to walk as far. The beach is still a narrow strip so the people have spread out further. That's one of the funny things about the beaches here, no one wants to walk very far. From the private beach the public beach looked so far away, but now it's so thin that the people spread out almost all the way down. The bird preserve is gone, there isn't enough space, but they're all darting around in the cove that was the old private beach. I find it fascinating that people would prefer to sit on top of each other, overhear each others conversations and music, and constantly have sand kicked on them than walk a extra couple of yards for some peace. I don't mind walking a little further. 

Tuesday, July 23

The Sun Also Rises

I hate to jump the gun here, but I just can't help myself. Last week I started reading The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. I'm loving every last word of it and have gotten to the point where I've started reading very slowly to stretch it out.

A couple of summers ago I read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain and hated it. It's a fairly popular book that I always see posing for photos on instagram and blogs alike, receiving great praise from the commenters. Every time I read one of those comments that says, "I loved this book so much, it's the best, you're going to love it!" I shake my head and wonder why. What made them love such a dreadful tale? Why do they like it so much? WHY? What about it exactly is appealing? Sure, it starts out as a love story but things sour relatively quickly and after a series of horrible events Ernest finally abandons Hadley for her "friend", Pauline. And it's not like the author made you feel like you were in Paris in the 1920s either. The only descriptions, I feel, were of their dark apartment, not of the charming cafes or glittering lights. Pauline's behavior while they were vacationing with the Fitzgeralds, if I'm not mistaken, was enough to make me want to slam the book shut for good. Such an unpleasant subject matter is not appealing to me. I did not find reading about the demise of a relationship to be an enjoyable experience. 

As a result, I put off reading The Sun Also Rises since it tells Hemingway's side of the Pamplona affair. That is, until this summer when I decided I needed a good dose of the twenties. It's no secret that the 1920s ranks high on my list of favorite eras. It's such an interesting time in history, so much was changing socially, politically, and at the end of it came the Great Depression. Then it's often romanticized by all of those wonderful artists and writers that converged upon Paris, Hemingway of course is no exception.
One of the things I am enjoying most about the story is it's telling. I'm very much enjoying the prose, sentence structure, tone. I'm also enjoying noticing the little things that haven't changed over the years. For example, the characters go to a little restaurant that got into one of the American guide books. Now it's packed and noisy, fully of American tourists, not at all the same as they remembered, but the owner tells them that if they come at lunchtime it'll be empty. The same thing recently happened to one of my favorite spots in the West Village. Tiny place, very good food, now packed every night, lots of tourists. It's no surprise that it would be featured in a guide book, it's wonderful, but it is frustrating to no longer be able to get a table. But JD and I really should start expanding outside of the bubble.

I'll write out a full review once I finish reading the book. In the meantime, if you have read The Paris Wife, please let me know what you thought of it.

Monday, July 22

Bottling Day

On Saturday, JD and I bottled the watermelon beer. He took part of the day off from studying to help me since I strained my back and all lifting the bucket when I did the transfer. I am very interested in how the final product with taste. We sampled and it was delicious, but there were bits of watermelon floating around in it since it's unfiltered. The little thing at the end of the auto siphon should take care of that in most of the bottles as we had to stop and clean it out twice since it clogged twice. The second time the pressure caused it to pop off into one of the bottles, overflowing one of them and spilling onto the floor. So there are about four or five bottles that will have more watermelon than the rest.

Before he headed back into the city we switched out some of our vanilla porters for blueberries. JD had been storing them at his house, most likely so that I did not drink them all without him. They are delicious. We are definitely getting the hang of this home brew thing.

Tuesday, July 16

Beach Day

one. bikini top & bottom / two. sandals / three. cover up / four. sunglasses / five. hat

I love the sailboat pattern on this swimsuit from J. Crew, plus it's on sale. It's just too cute! 

End of the Weekend

Can you believe that my shoes are still wet from Friday? Neither can I. I think I'll put them outside today and see if that helps. The real problem is the humidity. Today it's not so bad, but all weekend with the impending rain it was a lot like walking through soup. 

The remainder of the weekend was alright. JD is in the final stretch before the bar exam so he doesn't have a lot of free time and cannot participate in fun weekend activities like day drinking or being outside. After brunch on Saturday he retreated to his library cave at school and reemerged around 7pm. But in a few weeks he will have all of the free time in the world and we will go on a fun little vacation to a place where it's probably even hotter and more humid than New York, New Orleans. Though, they're always wearing jackets on True Blood so it's hard to tell. I never know what season it's supposed to be on that show, or what's going on really. I started watching a few seasons in, the one with the witches, and have never really understood why they don't just move out of this town if it's causing everyone so much trouble and heartache. That would make sense, right? Clearly, I'm missing something. But that's okay.

So Saturday evening we went to see one of my favorite improv shows at UCB, Grandma's Ashes with friends and it was the funniest show I've seen them do. I laughed to hard at one point, the Meth Camp scene, that I couldn't breathe. I should explain. They get their ideas from secrets that the audience members have written down on little white scraps of paper and dropped in a bucket in the center of the room. One of the secrets was something along the lines of: a group of friends brought meth with them to church camp and one of them got caught. The rest of them stayed up all night dancing in the cabin while a girl in a wheelchair they were sharing the cabin with cried herself to sleep. Yes, it is a horrible secret, but the scene they created from it was hilarious. It mostly involved everyone jumping up and down, dancing, and occasionally knocking Abra out of her chair. This is probably one of those things that you needed to see. Writing it out just makes it sound uncomfortable, but I promise you it was not. The show also had one of the best endings I have ever seen. They managed to justify every single character, including why the girl from meth camp ended up in a wheelchair. She was shot by a detective after being caught in the illegal soda ring. Yup. 

Sunday afternoon I did a makeup class since I missed my class when I was away in Maryland for the fourth. It did not go well. JD spent the day studying in the library. And that was that. Once again, I failed to take any pictures aside from of my food and drinks, which I already posted on Saturday. 

This summer seems like it's going by way too quickly.

Saturday, July 13

The Weekend Thus Far

I usually don't blog on Saturdays, but this has been a weird week and who really cares?
Last night JD and I went to Tartine to celebrate our seven year anniversary, which was really on Tuesday. We love Tartine. It's such a cute little place on a (relatively) quiet street with delicious food, outdoor seating, and a bring your own booze policy. When we left the apartment it the sky was gray and looked like rain. The weather report said there was a 10% chance of rain, so we brought umbrellas and a bottle of champagne and decided to go anyway. It started pouring the minute we arrived and got on line. The woman standing next to JD kept dumping her umbrella out on him. He was soaked. The lack of intelligence and common courtesy or sense exhibited by people can be astounding. This woman was very much aware that someone was standing next to her, where she thought the water would go with each shake is beyond me. Luckily for us, there were only larger parties ahead of us so we were seated relatively quickly as a party of two. Dinner was lovely and definitely made up for the unpleasantries brought about by the rain. We split a fig salad to start, I ordered the sautéed chicken, and JD had the mussels with a bucket of french fries. Delicious.
It was still raining when we left Tartine and my shoes were completely soaked so we decided to run back to the wine shop, pick up another bottle and watch To Catch a Thief back at the apartment. I wore my most comfortable pair of wedges that I wear all of the time but apparently when wet the jute swells and they became very tight and uncomfortable around my toes. They are still soaked this afternoon. 

 This morning was went for an early brunch at Market Table, mostly because they serve eggs benedict with prosciutto on buttermilk biscuits. We decided to order the pancakes with strawberries, almonds, and bourbon maple syrup as well and switched plates half way through the meal. We do that a lot.  It works out really well, especially when we would both like to try multiple things. Everything was delicious, and we went so early that we pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves.
I am currently in a food coma, and JD is studying. Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, July 10

Watermelon Diary

So, the other weekend JD and I decided against our better judgement to start a watermelon beer. Oh yeah, I'm not sure if I have mentioned much of it but a couple of months ago JD bought a home brew kit and we started making little batches. So far we have made a Belgian Caramel Wit, Blueberry Ale, and a Vanilla Porter. We were originally planning to wait until after the bar exam to make the watermelon since JD would be busy studying and I would have to do most of it on my own. Well we forgot about that and today I did the transfer solo, documenting every step of the way for JD. 

One. Lifting the thing up on top of the dryer. I may have bruised my thigh getting it up there but I managed.
Two. I have absolutely no idea how to pick a watermelon so I picked one that looked as even in color as possible and wasn't too heavy so I could carry it. I buckled it in for the car ride home just to be safe.
Three. I sliced the watermelon in half AFTER sanitizing EVERYTHING. Don't worry.
Four. In improv, slicing your fruit before putting it in a blender may appear to be out of the ordinary behavior. Those blades are more than capable of mashing that watermelon for you, but it's okay, you really, really love your blender, we get it. In reality, it does actually help to chop it up before putting it into the (sanitized) blender. The larger chunks took longer to blend than the smaller ones, so there.
Five. Blending
Six. I sanitized a bowl to pour the watermelon juice into since the whole thing wouldn't fit in the blender. Here they are side by side, the whole watermelon.
Seven. My hand is not big enough to cover the opening of the carboy like JD's does so I did my best in sanitizing in an improvised way, meaning it took longer so I didn't spill santizer all over the floor. Once everything was clean and ready to go I poured the watermelon in straight from the blender which did not require a funnel. It did however take up quite a bite of space in the carboy. The size of watermelon was not specified in the recipe. We'll have to wait and see how it comes out.
Eight. Getting the lid off of the big container was a pain in the butt. This is what it looked like freshly opened. It smelled pretty good too. 
Nine. Let the transfer begin!
Ten. Once the transfer I took the hydrometer reading, but declined to taste the sample as it was very cloudy, which was completely my fault. The sediment at the bottom of the bucket got stirred up when I tried to take the sample as it was too shallow at that point.
Eleven. I put the airlock on and slid it back into the corner where it will wait for another ten or so days before bottling.
 Twelve. Spilled sanitizer everywhere while drinking to drain the bucket in the sink. It was very graceful and obviously unphotographed.

I really cannot wait to see how this batch comes out!

Monday, July 8

Weekend at the Bay

I'm having trouble believing that today is Monday. I guess a long holiday weekend will do that to you. After the first to days the rest just melt together. It was hot enough, it could happen. We spent the Fourth of July and the rest of the weekend on at our friend's home on the bay in Maryland. The drive down wasn't bad, we made good time, but google maps had other ideas once we got close to the house. First it suggested that we take a shortcut across someone's private property but I suppose we should give it a tiny be of credit for choosing an actual road for option one. The second way it suggested involved driving through a field full of deer and through some trees. It was dark enough that we actually starting to drive into the field before we realized that there was a solid wall of trees and google had obviously lost it. I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. After texting Liz a screen shot of the field she directed us to the correct road and everything was fine. We drove by that field the next day for reference. It the daylight it's really obvious that it's not a road to anywhere, not to mention there was a fence on the other side of those trees. Really google maps? What in the world were you thinking? 

The rest of the weekend was so much fun. We spent a lot of time sitting on the dock, playing in the water, and drinking margaritas. There was also wake boarding and tubing, and JD brought his slackline down and set it up over the water. It was impressive how good everyone got at it by the end of the weekend. The furthest I got was three steps which isn't very far at all. It was just a nice relaxing weekend, and most likely the last getaway we'll take before the bar exam. 
JD, Liz, and Steph getting some studying in. 
Gus really wanted his picture taken. He wouldn't leave me alone once he saw the camera.
Sunset over the bay.
On the Fourth of July. We had the perfect viewing spot from the dock. 
The fireworks were set off just a little further down the river in the marina.
Fresh raspberries grow along the lane leading to the house. 
They were picking and put in homemade ice cream one night.
There were so many frogs in the evenings. I had to catch one.

Wednesday, July 3

Berry Truffle Tart

So that berry tart I was convinced I had messed up yesterday actually came out pretty nicely if I do say so myself. It turned out that a little extra butter in the crust didn't matter much once it cooled. There was so much bubbling in the oven I thought it wouldn't harden properly, but it did. The only thing is that there are a few more calories in this one, but I'm willing to do a few extra sets of sit ups for it. I decided to get all Fourth of July festive and top it with blueberries and strawberries in place of raspberries this time around. I'm not a fan of whipped cream, otherwise I'd whip some up for a dash of white. Nothing says Happy Birthday America like a red, white, and blue dessert, and fireworks, but we'll have to wait for those until tomorrow. But, maybe I'll pick up a few sparklers for the tart, make things extra festive. 
Incase you missed it the first time around, here is the recipe and directions for the tart. 

Ingredients:
3/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup of shortbred cookie crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
12 ounces of 55% to 60% bittersweet chocolate, chopped (chip form is just fine)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup strawberries

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and combine the first four ingredients in a medium bowl.
2. Press the cookie mixture into an ungreased nine-inch tart pan and bake for seven to ten minutes. Let cool completely.
3. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring until smooth, then stir in the vanilla extract.
4. Pour the chocolate filling into the tart shell and set aside until it is cool but not completely firm. 
5. Slice strawberries in half vertically and arrange berries on top of the chocolate and chill tart until firm.
6.  Serve & enjoy!

Tuesday, July 2

Baking Disasters & A Rainy Weekend

This morning I got up earlier than usual and decided to get a start on what should be a very long and busy day. I decided to start with the berry truffle tart I was planning to make for the fourth. Baking when you're still quite tired is a bad idea. And the kitchen hasn't exactly been my favorite place as of late. Last week I sliced a nice chunk of my finger off while washing dishes. JD says it's nothing and he's right. It's a very tiny cut compared to other injuries I've sustained, but it freaked me out and hurt a lot and it is in a terribly uncomfortable spot on the side of my knuckle. Where was I going with this? Oh right, the kitchen has not been my friend lately. So this morning I misread the recipe for the tart crust and added 1/2 cup of butter instead of 1/3 cup. I realized that this might be a problem when I peered into the oven and noticed it was bubbling. Wonderful. I tried to squeeze out as much of the excess butter as I could and baked it again. It's cooling on the stove now and seems to be getting more solid. Good thing I had planned to serve this to friends... It should be fine right?
{ where we would have liked to be this weekend }

We didn't do very much this weekend. JD and I decided to leave the city as the pride parade was on Sunday and the neighborhood would be insane and difficult to navigate. They set up barriers to separate the traffic from the people so you have to walk all the way up to Chelsea to cross the street and come back down. I'm also not a huge fan of crowds and our weekend activities would be very restricted so instead we planned to go sailing and to the beach, neither of which happened thanks to the weather. JD found the recipe for 21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon, so we decided to brew a watermelon beer and go on a car picnic instead. I'm going to have to manage the transfer by myself next week and am kind of nervous about it. The reason why we had been delaying starting the watermelon was because JD will be taking the bar (exam) soon and wouldn't be out to help me with it. We remembered this on Sunday, after brewing on Saturday. Good job us. 

I have so much to do today and it's already 9:30am. Oh boy. Here goes nothing!