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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tuesday in Stamford

My friend, Lisa, aka la Princessa, gave me such a great gift today. She drives for work from Montclair to her office in Stamford, Connecticut and told me any time I need a ride to Sis's, I can grab one! So we went there and back today and talked so much, catching up--about our childhoods, our parents, our fashion loves. Style softens life. We agree on that.

And I had from 10:20 a.m. to 6 p.m. with Sis and Buttercup on this beautiful May day.

I did little things for and with Sis: 
  1. Check her bandage, apply new tape. 
  2. Eat breakfast at round kitchen table--hardboiled eggs, dark bread, the delicious coffee she makes in a French press. Her real name is MaryAnne. From now on, it's MaryAnne Blend coffee.
  3. Chat.
  4. Take sheets off guest room bed. 
  5. Do a couple loads wash and hang delicates--including one of the two special post-surgery white camisoles from Underneath It All to dry on wood rack. [There is a shop in NYC.]
  6. Load some dishes. 
  7. Change the flowers--the beautiful bouquets from our brother Will; her stepdaughter Julie; me and my family; and her stepson, Charles--all withered. Refresh all vases with pink roses and clean white baby's breath. 
  8. Sit at the round kitchen table and eat lunch.
  9. Chat.
  10. Sample a couple of chocolates from the big golden Godiva box her college friend Jill sent. 
  11. Go grocery shopping. 
  12. Look at photos of her trip to Florida to swim with dolphins before her surgery.
  13. Cuddle her doggy. 
  14. Walk by the pretty marina. See two beautiful white swans and a family of ducks.
  15. And take a nap on the couch, safe and sound in the presence of my big sister while "I Dream of Jeannie" is on TV.
$ MONEY SPENT OUT OF POCKET
  • Uber from downtown Stamford to Sis's, plus $2 tip, $10.17. [The traffic was really bad and Lisa would be even more delayed for work, so I Ubered the last short leg of the journey at 10:10 a.m.]
  • ShopRite in Stamford. I went to get groceries for Sis [using her credit card] and also bought things for her in a separate order with my cash: pink petunia plant for terrace; dozen pretty long-stem pink roses; Mrs. Meyer's limited edition peony hand soap; pint coffee ice cream; plus dog food for Sugar and a cute 3-in-1 Despicable Me shampoo/conditioner/body wash for Punch and small gift and gift bag from me and Sis to Lisa, $39.90.
TOTAL DAILY SPEND: $50.07
RUNNING TOTAL FOR MONTH AS OF MAY 21: $1,707.10.
MAY AVERAGE DAILY SPEND: $81.29.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Monday Money

I want to write about my Chelsea Market adventure tomorrow when I have more energy--not at night.

TCOY
  1. Walked around block.
  2. Walked 1 hour in NYC today, from Port Authority to Chelsea Market and back.
  3. Went to press event, networked, in foodie paradise.
  4. Venti cup of ice water [free] from Starbucks.
$ MONEY SPENT OUT OF POCKET
  • DeCamp bus, round trip to NYC, $7.65 each way, $15.30.
  • Sarabeth's Bakery in Chelsea Market, where I stared down incredible treats [chocolate pudding with whipped cream in a small mason jar; rich brownies; Chocolate Chubbies; Chocolate Chip Cloud Cookies; shortbread; loaf cake slices; and so much more] and got a decaf iced latte, so I could sit and work on my laptop, $5.17 plus tip, $5.67. P.S. People were having tall, stuffed multi-layered sandwiches [egg salad or turkey] and they looked soooo good.
  • Starbucks, all I wanted was the free giant cup of ice water [it was hot, walking 30 minutes back] but had to buy something, so got 2-pack of dark chocolate graham crackers and ate one, brought other one home, $2.25.
TOTAL DAILY SPEND: $23.22.
RUNNING TOTAL FOR MONTH AS OF MAY 20: $1,657.03.
MAY AVERAGE DAILY SPEND: $82.85.

Money thought: It felt good to walk my city--for free--and feel like a part of its quirky, colorful fabric  and confident air instead of spending money on a subway or cab.

Sunday Catch-up: Jackie Kennedy Speaks to Us

Hello from Sarabeth's in Chelsea Market, the bustling, Come-to-Jesus foodie mecca on Ninth Avenue between 15th and 16th streets. I was invited on a little tour by a marketing firm that represents Blackbarn, a restaurant and shop I WROTE ABOUT for the spring issue of ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME Magazine.

I will blog in a separate post about the tour...but first, here is my update from yesterday.

 I rose at 6:20 a.m. to start cleaning my house! I'm in two book groups, one for well over 10 years [and they know my little, imperfect home, dust bunnies and all] and one for a year, called BCBC for Boot Camp Book Group or Book Camp.

I love my boot camp friends and miss them terribly. But Dan and I both cleaned a lot. These friends have fancy houses, I told him. We sprayed and wiped and swept and moved clutter.

Of course, my friends were gracious. I don't think they noticed the stain on the tan couch [Punchy spilled something?] and I hope they weren't offended by the tendency toward, um, keeping too much stuff.

When you host the group, you get to choose the book and I chose this one:


It came in a set, with a collection of CDs so you could hear Jackie's voice in lengthy interviews she agreed to soon after JFK was shot. The interviews were locked in a vault for 50 years and then, after much thought, her daughter, Caroline Kennedy, decided to release them.

We all talked a lot yesterday, and it was provocative. Her life, their marriage, the role of women at that time.

Since Jackie was polished and into French designers and speaking French, I made a tomato + cheese tart that looked French. I googled her favorite desserts and came up with Crème Brûlée and Strawberries Romanoff, a dessert she served to Princess Grace of Monaco. I made the latter, with help from my friend Sue, who rinsed and quartered two quarts of organic strawberries for me--since I was running behind--and from Dan, who ran out to get me a bottle of Grand Marnier to douse the berries before topping them with a nice rich cloud of real whipped cream with sour cream and confectioner's sugar folded in. Supersimple to make, but pretty and ladylike. I served them in my mother's stemmed wedding-crystal glasses.

It's 2:02 p.m. and I have a work email to write also, so let me do my money record:

SUNDAY $ SPENT OUT OF POCKET
  • Whole Foods, 3 large organic tomatoes, fresh basil and wedge of fine cheese to grate for tart; 3 quarts organic strawberries; big wedge watermelon; 2 small loaves French bread; large container lemon-garlic olives; prepared green beans with crisp shallots; big bottle of good cold brew iced coffee that I put in large glass pitcher with lots of ice and half and half; organic orange juice [to have with Prosecco]; heavy cream; sour cream; plant-based half and half for Fig to try; jar Grey Poupon Dijon mustard for tart recipe; 2 bottles seltzer; 1 bottle Italian mineral water; 2 rolls recycled paper towels; 2 protein bars, $97.50.
TOTAL DAILY SPEND: $97.50.
RUNNING TOTAL FOR MONTH AS OF MAY 19: $1,633.81.
MAY AVERAGE DAILY SPEND: $85.99.

Money thought: I wanted the best organic strawberries at the best price, so I went to Whole Foods. I was late, and it didn't feel good to be in a panic like that, but I didn't overspend in a crazy way.
I love this big, bright book. Bought it last week at Stamford Public Library while visiting Sis.
I think it was under $5. I found the rich dough recipe and the tart recipe in here.





Saturday, May 18, 2019

Grace

I weeded the front gardens today. Sometimes, what looks like a flower turns out to be a weed, a fast-growing impostor that can crowd out your irises and lavender, choke the rosebush a Girl Scout troop gave you long ago.

There's a life lesson there....maybe someone you think is a true friend is not. A habit that seems harmless goes bad. A welcoming smile hides an underhanded intention.

Those perky little green weeds with tiny blue blooms....they pop up all over in moist soil, eager to carpet it.

The black-eyed Susans, kind of raggedy now, slyly take root near the sea grass border.

The good news is, most weeds are easy to pull. Their roots don't go deep, so up they go.

Hope you are having a good weekend.

TCOY
  1. Got to my support group. Had missed a couple of weeks. Good to be there among friends. Caught up with my friend after.
  2. Pedicure--but went to one of the many nail salons in town to save $, instead of to the salon I like. The quality did not compare. The man who did the pedi didn't even apply a base coat before the color. 
  3. Nap.
  4. Gardening.
  5. Reading.
$ MONEY SPENT OUT OF POCKET
  • Kings, several big-ticket items. After much dedicated reporting and a trip to Cuba, Dan's article about the mysterious illness affecting diplomats in Cuba is in tomorrow's Sunday NY Times Magazine. Here is the online LINK or google Dan Hurley and nytimes.com. Anyway, Dan just flew back today after 2 nights in Savannah working at a gig as 60-Second Novelist and is working at another party tonight in NYC. So we had no time to go out and celebrate. He likes good cheese and fig jam, so I got those. Here is list: dahlia planter, $20; small wheel Jasper Hill Farm Harbison Cheese from Vermont, $16.99 [in VT., I had their blue cheese in a chocolate truffle, yum]; Carr's cracker assortment, $4.99; new welcome mat for front stoop, $25; and lots of groceries, including tofu, vegan patties, Boca burgers, turkey burgers, whipped butter, regular butter [making tart for book group, need to do the dough], blueberry jam, Van's waffles, Peanut Butter & Co. PB on sale, etc, total, $119.01.
  • Parking meter, $2.
  • Bagel with turkey, Swiss, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo--lunch special w drink, etc., $8.52 + jar tip, $9.
  • Pedi, $27 + tip, $32. Will not rush back there.
  • Joyist, iced coffee w. coconut milk to bring to Fig at work and hazelnut energy bites for me, $11.
  • Little Daisy Bake Shop, why did I walk in? Oh well, it was the single most delicious piece of crumb cake I have ever had, $3.20 + tip, $4.20. Tender, light cake crumb, no bitter shortening bite, just butter, and crowned with thick layer of perfect brown sugar crumbs.
TOTAL DAILY SPEND: $177.21.
RUNNING TOTAL FOR MONTH AS OF MAY 18: $1,536.31.
MAY AVERAGE DAILY SPEND: $85.35.