Monday, December 28, 2009

The Shoes

The holidays have been quite hectic, but now that things are winding down, I am realizing how incredibly lucky I am. Not just because of the generous gifts I received this year, but because I am so fortunate to have a loving family, a wonderful fiancĂ©, adorable kitty-cats, a nice place to live and a good job. Evan and I were talking after Christmas Day that we can’t think of anything that we want or need. That is a pretty amazing realization.

One of the reasons that I can’t think of anything that I want or need is because of these babies….Yes, they are Dior, and yes, my brother gave them to me for Christmas…and yes, you should be very jealous. I promised I would include these on the blog for all to drool over. He bought these to go with an outfit he designed that was worn by actress, Alexis Bledel famous for her role on Gilmore Girls and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. She wore these for a few hours at a Saks event and now they are mine mine mine! I don’t know where I will wear them just yet. Probably with one of the Christian Siriano outfits I got for Christmas. 2010 is a year I will be stylin’.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Party Dresses

I am absolutely in love with every single dress currently on the racks at White House/Black Market. I couldn’t contain myself and ended up buying not one, but two holiday party dresses this year. I know I am supposed to be saving for a wedding, but these dresses are reasonably priced and the store is always having some sort of deal.

The first dress I purchased to wear to Evan’s work party. It is classic black, strapless and fits like a glove. I really feel beautiful in this dress, and isn’t that what it is all about? I am probably going to freeze in it because I’m not wearing tights. I will be wearing a spray tan to show off the shoulders, but probably no jewelry to keep it basic.

The second dress is a little more flashy and I will be wearing it with black tights and the heels pictured here. (The sales girls always bring you shoes to try on with the dress which suckers me every time! And their black tights are awesome!) I will be wearing this sparkly number to a House Warming/Birthday/Holiday party this Saturday. I don’t think that this event is formal, but I don’t mind being a little overdressed. If we decide to go out on New Year’s I could wear this again, or I use the occasion to justify getting this one-strap loveliness.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December New York Trip

After my nightmare about my wedding dress, I decided that I really needed a consult with my designer. And if my brother can’t come to me, I would have to go to him. Mom and I booked a ticket on the Bolt Bus and planned a two day get away. The bus ticket was $34 ROUND TRIP. My brother put us up in a hotel in Brooklyn and took us out to dinner. You can’t beat that!

Our two day NY trip was tons of fun. The bus ride was a breeze, it was a clean and nice and a really simple ride. I definitely recommend it. Once we got in to Manhattan we thought we would walk around, but after walking around in a two block circle with our bags, we decided to just get a cab to Brooklyn. I hadn’t been to my brother’s apartment since last Thanksgiving, so it was great to see how he had it decorated. We visited and watched the end of Harry Potter and then headed to dinner at Sea, a Thai place down the street. After dinner we headed back to the apartment and watched “Four Christmases”. Not exactly what you would call a luxurious New York vacation, but it is exactly what we wanted to do, spend time with my brother and Brad and Topper at the apartment and have a nice family dinner together.

On Monday, we woke up in our hotel in Brooklyn, my brother picked us up with his car service and we rode in to the city to his studio. We had our wedding dress consultation and then browsed through his racks. Mom took home a sweater and I got a new winter coat! Mom and I went to do a little shopping, bought Christmas presents for each other and headed back to the studio for lunch. It was fun to be a fly on the wall in his office watching his team run around. We stayed for a bit and then went to our bus stop to catch the Bolt Bus back home. It was quick, but a really nice trip. I can’t wait until Christmas when the family gets together again.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Buttercream Frosted

I have been really inspired after my trip to the newly opened Bethesda location of Georgetown Cupcake. Although I make cupcakes often, I rarely make my own frosting from scratch. So this morning, I was feeling motivated and made a cream cheese buttercream frosting to go with my spice cake cupcakes. I still have to practice more to get them looking as professional as the GT Cupcakes, but it is a delicious project to work on.

Cream Cheese Buttercream Recipe

1 package Cream Cheese, softened
1 stick of Unsalted Sweet Cream Butter, softened
1 lb of Confectioner’s Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla

Mix cream cheese and butter in mixer using the paddle attachment. Mix in sugar scraping the sides occasionally. Add in vanilla and mix some more!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pumpkin Roll

A couple years ago, while living in Arkansas, I hosted an October Bunco party. I planned my menu for weeks. I chose foods that would fit with a Halloween theme, witches fingers (vienna sausages wrapped in puff pastry), coffin dip (pumpernickel bread cut like coffins with dill dip) and a blood ball (shrimp ball drizzled in cocktail sauce). I made sugar cookies in the shape of pumpkins and witches hat cookies. Everything fit my theme and my only stress was the “day of” execution. I always get stressed on the “day of” and once in a while, Evan and I will get in a tiff because of it. Evan had made a Pumpkin Roll and wanted me to serve it at my party. I was irritated because it didn’t go with my theme and I wanted the menu to be things that I had prepared. I had worked so hard to plan it out and prepare everything. And to be perfectly honest, I wanted the credit when the guests oohed and aahed. By the time the first car pulled in the driveway, I had kicked Evan out and let the Pumpkin Roll stay. Big mistake.

Guests arrived and grazed through the spread of food with the regular, “how cute” type of polite comments. That is, until they came to the Pumpkin Roll. These ladies went crazy over this Pumpkin Roll! There were extraordinarily loud “MMmmmms” and they were all dieing over the filling. Three people asked for the recipe and one woman suggested that I email it out to the whole Bunco listserv. Then the conversation went on and on about how difficult it is to make “rolls”. It was everything I could do not to lose it when I had to announce that I didn’t make it. I think some of the crowd was genuinely disappointed or worried that I didn’t have the recipe to give. So the party went on and I didn’t mention much about it. The week following the party, I received two phone calls asking for the recipe since I did not send it out.

Fast forward a couple weeks to Thanksgiving and I was planning a potluck with two couples in Arkansas. Both women were in the Bunco group and asked me to ask Evan to make the Pumpkin Roll. That stupid Pumpkin Roll would haunt me forever. I swallowed my pride and told him to prepare it, but I could no longer keep my feelings to myself. I had a couple glasses of wine and spilled my guts about my Pumpkin Roll animosity. That only set the stage for everyone to moan loudly and go way over the top when he served it as the finale of our Thanksgiving feast. And now looking back, I can’t even remember what I brought to that potluck.

The teasing is ongoing, but these days I have come to terms with the Pumpkin Roll. I know I can’t compete with it and have just accepted the fact that it is the best dessert at every party we take it to. This year was no exception. One of the guests at our Thanksgiving dinner had, not one, but two pieces of Pumpkin Roll, leaving no room for a piece of apple pie that his wife made special for him. Another women defeated by the Pumpkin Roll. I know her pain so well.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Siriano Head to Toe

Every year the owner of the company I work for throws a huge holiday party the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Every salon employee, from stylist to shampoo assistant, is invited from every Bubbles, Salon Cielo and Colorworks salon. People come from Florida, Philadelphia, Virginia, Maryland and DC to celebrate and it is always an event. This year’s theme was Brazilian Carnivale, so the dress code was “flashy.” I thought about going in full body paint, but then decided that this was the perfect opportunity for me to wear the dress that didn’t make it to the engagement party. Everyone’s outfits are always over the top, so I knew that it would be perfect. I wore head to toe, Chrisitan Siriano. I had the VS make-up, the Payless runway shoes and the dress from his most recent line. It was pretty show stopping. I even got a mention in the CIBU “Holi-do of the Day” video from the famous Jenn Mapp-Bressan.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Martin + Osa

This may not be a new brand, but it is new to me. I am a fan of this store. I bought this dress a couple months ago and thought it was the perfect summer to fall transition dress. I wore it with sandals when the weather was warm and dressed it up with cowboy boots and a cardigan when it started to get chilly. I planned to wear this into winter with tights and a sweater, but to my dismay, I got in a little accident. I tripped (over my cat) and split the dress right up the back. I was embarrassed and obviously bummed since I love this dress. My cat was ok, don’t worry. I put the dress back in the closet because I couldn’t bare to throw it away. Weeks later, I needed a dress for my engagement party and I immediately remembered that my favorite dress also came in a print. I bought the print dress and while I was in the store, I asked if there was any chance I could exchange my torn dress. I explained how it got torn, that I tripped over my cat, and they said, “No problem!” I was so happy that I asked. Last week, I took my dress in and they didn’t have my size. I was worried, but for no reason. They called another store and sent it to me at no charge. Isn’t it nice when a store goes out of there way to make you happy?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flash Mob Part 2

I am participating in another flash mob project with Dragonfly Dance. This one is recreating a Flash Mob from Oprah’s 24th Anniversay Concert. We will be teaching the dance to 200 non-dancers at a corporate event in downtown DC. I had rehearsal with 15 other dancers on Tuesday night to learn the choreography to the Black Eyed Peas song. Wednesday and Thursdayare the performances that will be taped. I don’t know if I will be able to get a recording of our actual performance, but here is the Oprah/Black Eyed Peas performance. Pretty stunning.

If you want to learn the dance yourself, there is a video on Oprah’s website that shows you how to do it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Back From Michigan

What a whirlwind trip! Do you know the feeling when you need a vacation from your vacation? We had such a great time wedding planning, visiting family and exploring Detroit city. We ended up making adjustments to our original itinerary and by adjustments I mean we were late to almost every appointment, rescheduled a floral meeting and cancelled the photography meeting because there was no way we could make it. Even with all that I feel like we had a very successful trip and now I know I need to plan more conservatively.

I am so happy with the decision to have our wedding in Detroit. We only spent one night in the city and I wished we had planned for more. Evan, his mom, his sister, his sister’s friend (and native Detroiter) Michael, me and my mom all took the hotel shuttle downtown to Greektown so that we could check out the scene. My Mom wanted see the casinos so we did a quick walk through and spent a few minutes at the quarter slots. After the casino tour, we went and sat at the bar at Pegasus. They served flaming cheeses, hummus and other delicious appetizers, so we ate and drank and enjoyed the show. After appetizers and drinks, Michael said that we had to go across the street to a famous Greek pastry shop. We all picked out our own delicious dessert and jumped back on the shuttle to our hotel. We stayed at the Omni Hotel, right on the Detroit river. Our room faced the water so we woke up looking at the Windsor Canada skyline. Michael recommended some other places that I really wished we had time to see, the Renaissance Center, the Greektown hotels and the people mover. I guess we will have to schedule those in our next trip.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Off to Michigan

Be back next week with lots of wedding planning news to share...

Monday, November 2, 2009

"We don't wancha goin' out for hockey!"

If you don't know this quote, it is from one of my favorite movies, Fargo. Hockey is such an interesting thing to me. I know there are hockey fans all over and even California has a hockey team, but nobody loves this sport like a Northerner. Texas and the southern states have their football, California their surfing, Maryland their sailing (yes, my high school had a sailing team) and Michigan/Wisconsin/Minnesota/etc. has hockey and that sport with the brooms kind of like shuffle board.

As you probably know, Evan, my fiance, is from Michigan, which is pretty North by most standards. I figured it was only a matter of time before I was dragged to a Capitals game. Not that Evan is a big sports fan, but his cousin who lives in Salisbury, Maryland is a season ticket holder and had two tickets that he wasn't using. So we found ourselves headed to DC to support the Washington Capitals.

We had a really nice dinner at Asian Spices, since the Verizon Center where the Caps play is right in the middle of China Town. Then we headed up, up, up to almost the top row, where the real fans sit. Evan got a beer and I got peanuts to keep me occupied. There were drunken rowdy college kids behind us, hockey Moms to one side and the women next to me was literally knitting a sweater. Unfortunately, the Caps lost to the Islanders, but we had a nice time. GO CAPS!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Cookies

It has been quite a busy and rainy Halloween weekend, and it's not over yet. We didn't buy candy this year. Last year we didn't have any trick-or-treaters. So in place of our left over snickers and butterfingers, we will be enjoying Halloween cookies today. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Flash Mob

A little while ago I posted about starting to dance again. I have been taking class with a company, DragonFly Dance Experiment, for a couple of months. A few weeks ago, the director asked me if I would want to perform with them. I, of course, said “Yes!”, but I am (for obvious reasons) really nervous. It has been a long long time since I have been on a stage. Really my last performance was on the court. The basketball court with the Diamond Gem Dance Team. That is not exactly what I would compare to improving modern movement. But I am just going to have to get over it and jump in.

The first piece I started rehearsing with the company is a Flashmob piece. For those that do not know what a Flashmob is (I had to look it up myself) here is the Wikipedia definition:
“A flash mob (or flashmob) is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time, then quickly disperse.”

So for our purpose, we come together and perform an improv and choreographed work in a public place and then go our separate ways. We did our first “performance” this past Wednesday, downtown Annapolis. This is going to be an ongoing project and I can’t wait to see how it develops. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to be where we are one day...or you can watch it on youtube.

(Unfortunately, this video is cut off on the right side which is where I am standing most of the time, so you can watch it on youtube here.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Brother on Oprah!

If you didn’t catch it today, I hope you set your DVR! My brother is a super star! He was on Oprah this afternoon and he did amazing! (Yes, I recorded it on a VHS tape. I am old school.) I was so proud to see him so confident and witty holding his own with the Queen of day time (or any time) television. Did you see her hold his hand?!? He talked about Project Runway, his book, showed some of his new gowns and plugged his Payless Shoe line. If you haven’t seen it, check out Oprah’s website for a link to the 50% off Payless offer and see his behind the scenes video. It is pretty funny. This kid is blowing up! He is also going to have a new show on Bravo TV. I don’t have details yet, but I saw this blog on the Bravo website. (Yes, I have to google his name to find out what is going on.)

I am a very proud sister. What do we think of this, in white, for June?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wedding Website

I am having a lot of fun starting to put together the details of our upcoming wedding. We have confirmed our venue which is the biggest step so far. Detroit, here we come! I have started a wedding website to post info for our guests and anyone who is interested in our details.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wedding Weekend: Part 2

Unfortunately, I did not get a single picture of the bride and groom at the second “wedding” this weekend. This is the best shot I could find of Evan and the groom, our good friend, Kevin.

The second "wedding" last Saturday was actually a reception only party for our friends in Richmond who tied the knot in a private ceremony this summer. They invited friends and family to celebrate with them at a restaurant/bar, the Bank, in downtown Richmond. We drove right from the Charlottesville wedding to our hotel, dropped off our bags, I changed my shoes and we headed to the Bank (which was fortunately only two blocks away because I was wearing runway shoes). It was really nice to see all of our Richmond friends. We have kept in touch with a few of them, but hadn’t seen most of them in three years. It was nice to see who had moved and who was still in their post-college apartments, who had changed jobs and who were back in school. We fell right in to where we had left off and partied like we were in our early twenties. :) After the celebration, we headed to our hotel room and ordered Dominos, since we missed the food at both celebrations. Evan was asleep before the pizza came, but I chowed down and he had a nice pre-breakfast for his hung over self the next morning.

We dragged ourselves out of bed on Sunday both with big headaches, but we dusted ourselves off to meet more friends for brunch. When I first met Evan, he lived in a split Richmond house, one apartment on top and one below. The apartment above was Evan and his roommate Shawn and the apartment below was Fletch. Fletch is absolutely a character and those three boys had some bachelor times, most of which are unmentionable. I was so glad we were able to catch up with him and his girlfriend, Carter. We are all a little more grown up now, but I’m pretty sure we all showed up to brunch with hangovers. Richmond is just that kind of city.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wedding Weekend: Part 1

Now that we are engaged it seems like things are all wedding all the time, but I couldn’t have planned that we would have not one, but two, weddings to attend this past weekend! I did, however, RSVP that we would attend both and Evan was along for the ride.

The first wedding was the Mapp/Bressan wedding in Charlottesville, VA. My friend, Jenn Mapp, famous for her CIBU videos on youtube, wore a Christian Siriano original gown at her outdoor ceremony at Ash Lawn Highland. She was absolutely stunning and the ceremony (although quite cold) was beautiful. We walked down a cobblestone path through a garden maze to the intimate ceremony site. (Side note: You know a bride is a fabulous woman when most of her guests are in stilettos at an outdoor wedding.)

The couple wrote their own vows, which were sincerely beautiful. The groom could hardly keep himself together when reciting his, and I think that even Evan was a little teary. The couple exchanged a romantic first kiss and we all headed to the tent for the reception. We warmed up at the cocktail hour with their signature cocktail, hot rum cider. Well, I warmed up with hot rum cider and Evan did his duty and ordered a soda since he would be driving us to our next wedding reception in Richmond, VA. We waited as long as we could for the bride and groom to make their entrance so we could get a good photo, but finally agreed we had to go if we weren’t going to be too late to the next reception. As we were leaving we ran into the bride and groom on their way back to the reception. It was perfect timing for us to get a picture and give our personal congratulations to the happy couple.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Engagement Party - Part 3: The Dress

My little brother is the best brother in the entire world. He has really taken care of me and mom in the fashion department since he hit it big. Our party weekend, he sent me beautiful white roses, provided drinks for all our guests with blue champagne glasses and gave us two wonderful engagement gifts. The only uh-oh moment was when we realized the dress he had for me to wear wasn’t coming. Here is a quick refresh from my previous post about the dresses I tried on for his most recent fashion show:

“I tried on two dresses, the one I wore (to the fashion show) and another strapless short party dress, both in the red print. I was in love with both dresses but went with the halter style since the strapless was on hold for another celeb. The strapless dress may end up in my closet eventually since no one ended up wearing it.”

This strapless dress was to be my party dress for our engagement party. I had been planning on this since the day after his runway show. He had his assistant priority mail my dress, but unfortunately she forgot to put “Saturday Delivery” on the box. I’m sure her life/job is crazy, so I don’t blame her at all. But you bet I was having a panic moment at 2pm the day before the party when we realized, I had nothing to wear!! Fortunately, I was able to find a dress that I liked at Martin + Osa (a new favorite store of mine) and everything turned out fine.

My party dress came perfectly packed the Monday after the party along with a winter jacket with a sticky note on it that read, "Do Not Sell, Shannon's Jacket". I really can't complain, I am one lucky sister. I will just have to find another party for my party dress, or make Evan take me on a hot date.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Engagement Party - Part 2: My Sidekick

I have a four year old niece who is the daughter of my stepsister, Melody. She really likes Evan and me because Evan almost always has a present for her when we see her and I give her ballet lessons in the living room. She was my sidekick for most of the engagement party. She followed me while I mingled with guests and posed for pictures. She sat with me while I attempted to eat and helped me pick out which dessert I should try first. she told all the guests, "what are we going to do with all these babies?" since there were three babies under the age of 1 year also in attendance. I really loved her company, but her mother was worried that she was bothering me. For a little break, we asked her if she could "guard" the presents. My niece took this task very seriously and "helped" by taking all of the cards and organizing them in a nice neat pile on the coffee table. That's right folks. All the cards were pulled off their gifts and put in a pile! We were able to figure out where most of the gifts came from, with the exception of a couple bottles of wine. Melody suggested that we address our cards, "Thank you for the lovely gift." for those who we weren't sure about. I appreciate that my little partner took her job so seriously. She can do no wrong in my book.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Our First Wedding Gift

Our wedding is not until next summer, but Evan and I got an early start on our registry because it is just plain fun to start a registry. I really didn’t expect to receive any gifts for a quite a while, so I was super surprised when two huge Crate and Barrel boxes showed up at our apartment the beginning of last week. Evan and I so excited to open our first wedding gifts barely got them up the stairs before popping open the tape. To our immense surprise the card read…

“Congratulations on your engagement! May your life together be full of many reasons to celebrate. Wishing you the best: LuAnn, Eran & Payless Team”

Amazing! The Payless people are so incredibly thoughtful. They keep me and my mother stocked on shoes from each season. And now, they have gone out of their way to find our registry and send beautiful gifts. They sent a punch bowl and a cake display that we used at our engagement party this weekend! Every time we see them at my brother’s runway shows they are always so friendly and nice. This is such a thoughtful gesture I just had to share the excitement.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Engagement Party

This Sunday, my mother hosted a brunch at her house in Annapolis to celebrate our Engagement. It was a party we had been planning for months and I was so excited how things came together. My father flew in from Florida, my brother came down from New York and Evan’s parents traveled all the way from Michigan. All of my bridesmaids, family friends, coworkers and neighbors were there to celebrate with us. It was a perfect day.

My mother opened her home and prepared the food: She did a wonderful job putting together egg casseroles, honey hams, cooked vegetables and fruit along with appetizers of tomato and cheese and raw veggies. Mom’s friend, Candy, prepared a delicious Italian sausage bite in a baked wonton cup. The house and yard looked absolutely beautiful.

My father and I made the desserts: We spent Friday evening and Saturday morning, baking up a storm. He made an almond cheesecake, chocolate marble and Oreo bunt cake, peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes and spice cake cupcakes. I made white chocolate macadamia nut cookies and two batches of my strawberry frosted, white cake cupcakes. Evan’s father, Bob, and our friend Shawn helped frost the day of the party. Yes, we have some sweet lovers in the family.

Evan’s parents provided the flowers: Jane and I made a stop at Whole Foods the morning of the party and picked out some flowers to go on each table. Jane (with the help of our friends from Richmond) put together absolutely beautiful arrangements.

My brother supplied Champagne: He knows what makes a party (for obvious reasons) and searched online to find the perfect party champagne glasses. He ordered these beautiful blue (plastic) Champagne glasses that went perfectly with our Bluebird theme I had posted on my blog months ago. He also made sure we would have enough Champagne for many many mimosas.

Evan and Michael did the yard work: For weeks leading up to the party, my mother planted grass, Michael trimmed and mulched. Evan help mulch arranged mums and put down pavers. The yard looked more beautiful then ever before.

The whole day was truly a family affair. The party was absolutely beautiful and I was so excited to get everyone together to celebrate with us.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Book Signing

I have been a bad bad blogger lately. I will post wedding, weekend and other updates this week. I promise…

If you haven’t already bought your copy of Fierce Style: How to be Your Most Fabulous Self, it is in stores now! I had the pleasure of catching up with the author this past weekend at a signing at Borders in downtown DC. He even posed for a picture with me. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Apple Pie (from scratch!)

Everyone knows that I love to bake, but did you know that Evan does some baking? Well, he does! This weekend he made this apple pie from scratch! He came home with a half dozen apples from the farmer’s market and announced, “I’m making an apple pie.” It was absolutely delicious!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New York Trip Sept 2009 - Day 3

It has taken a full week to get all my posts up from our NY trip. In reality it has taken me this long to get back to normal life. I still think I’m in the Marriott hotel when I get up in morning, but once I open my eyes, I realize, no, I’m at home, bah.

Our last day in NYC was the only day that it didn’t rain. It was absolutely beautiful, sunny with a cool breeze. We had plans to have brunch with my brother and Brad, so my mother was anxious all morning. She didn’t want us to be late meeting him, so we had to make sure we were packed up and checked out of the hotel. I hate packing at the end of a trip. I can never fit everything back in the suitcase and with the two pairs of stiletto platforms, this pack up was specifically challenging.

After we checked out and checked our bags, we went on a little adventure to find a place to eat. We settled on The Bryant Park Grille. They have a beautiful patio with tables outside next to the Fashion Week tents. We had a really nice brunch, caught up on celebrity gossip and relived my trip and fall moment with good laughs. It is nice that my brother can still find time for us during these crazy weekend trips. We got to have good meal with just family, nobody buzzing around with cameras or clipboards. At the end of brunch we had to do our goodbyes and then headed to do some more sight seeing.

We jumped in a cab and headed towards Central Park. We drove past the MTV set up for the MTV Music Awards that were scheduled for that night. Tons of teens were already lined up on the sidewalks waiting to get a peak of their favorite rock stars. We got dropped off in front of one of the entrances to the park and were immediately approached by a rickshaw tour guide. We had to take two rickshaws, so Evan and his Mom rode together and I rode with my Mama. The tour guide was very nice, but had a small obsession with the movie Home Alone 2. He must have mentioned it at least 10 times on the tour. We learned about some other movies filmed in the park and saw the elite buildings over looking the park where different celebrities have apartments.

After the tour, we made it back to the hotel, collected our belongings and caught a cab to the train station. As our trip was winding down, we had time to review all the exciting moments from the previous two days. We talked about how amazing it was to see my brother’s name on the window at Saks. My Mom relived her encounters with Tim Gunn, Fern Mallis and the CEO from Payless. We all agreed that we were so glad that we ended up at Rock of Ages. We had such a wonderful time and I can’t wait for the next trip in February.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New York Trip Sept 2009 - Day 2

The day of the runway show is filled with anticipation from the moment I wake up. Fortunately for me, I got to sleep in this year! It was great that our travel day and the day of the show were not one in the same. That meant much less anxiety for all.

Evan and his mother jumped right out of bed with plans to see more of the city. They headed over to Rockefeller Center and even made an appearance outside the Today Show. If I was a morning person I would have gone with them, but I’m glad that they got to go exploring so that Jane could get to see more of the city.

Read more and see more pictures here…

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New York Trip Sept 2009 - Day One

I am still reliving every moment of our New York Trip over and over in my mind. We had an absolutely amazing time and I wouldn’t have done one thing different.

Day one is always a whirlwind. We took the train up from BWI to NYC Penn Station and immediately headed over to my brother’s studio. On the way to the studio (which was only two blocks away) we passed by a Payless Shoe Store and had to stop to take a picture of the window. My brother’s entire line was displayed right up front with a picture of him and info about the shoes. My mother was so proud.

Once at the studio, it was a fun reunion, but it was also obvious my brother was incredibly busy. He really only had a few minutes to get us situated and get us out of there. His crew was having lunch when we arrived which was nice so we could chat with them for a few minutes before they were back to work work work. As I mentioned before I got to try on a few dresses, took home one and picked up the two pairs of shoes Payless had made for me. At that point, my brother called his driver to take us around the city.

It was a lot of fun to have the driver waiting for us. We are definitely not used to that kind of treatment. The first place we wanted to go was to Saks 5th Avenue to see my brother’s clothes on display on the exclusive designer 3rd floor. We were dropped off right in front and made a loop around the building to check out the window display. In the window were dresses by the likes of Roberto Cavali, Dolce and Gabbanna, Oscar DeLa Renta, Zac Posen and my little brother, Christian Siriano. We almost died as we walked around a read all the names. I thought I might fall over right there on the sidewalk and my mother got tears in her eyes. We posed for a picture at the window and then went inside. We took the elevator to the third floor and found his rack. The rack had been picked over quite a bit, but we each posed for another photo in front of the sign with his name holding a piece of this clothing. Then my mother told a few of the associates that she was his mother. After loitering in the designer area for a while, we went upstairs and Evan bought us each 2 pieces of chocolate from the chocolate counter. We went back one more time to look at his display and then called our driver to come pick us up.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fashion Week Outfit

It is that time of year again…FASHION WEEK!! This past weekend, Evan, Jane, my Mom and I had the best New York trip ever. The whole trip was absolutely awesome! I hope to post updates like I did last season, but I am trying to catch up with work and don’t have a ton of time to blog (hence my blogging absence the past few weeks). So until I can sit down and pour out our trip in written form, I wanted to post a quick update about the outfit I wore to my brother’s show. Of course my brother designed it! We stopped by his studio right when we got off the train on Friday. He had been doing fittings all day for celebs who wanted to wear something of his to his show. I tried on two dresses, the one I wore and another strapless short party dress, both in the red print. I was in love with both dresses but went with the halter style since the strapless was on hold for another celeb. The strapless dress may end up in my closet eventually since no one ended up wearing it. The shoes were also designed by my brother and produced by payless. I ended up wearing the gladiator platform boots that were worn in the show. I wore them all night and only fell once! More to come later this week...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sewing a Tablecloth

I am hosting a Bunko Party at my apartment next week!! I decided that it would be themed “yellow”, inspired by this yellow party. Part of this theme will include yellow tablecloths that I planned to sew from fabric I bought at Ikea. (Evan gave me a sewing machine for my birthday two years ago and I’m sorry to say, that this is the first attempt to use my machine.) My mother said that she would help so we set up the machine at her house. Believe it or not, we started this project two months ago…

Attempt #1: We broke the needle by sewing glittered fabric, so my Mom had to take the machine to a service store to find out what was wrong and how to fix it.

Attempt #2: I successfully sewed two sides of the four for one tablecloth and then got tired and had to go home. It was a work night :(

Attempt #3: My wonderful mother ended up finishing them because she wanted every off her dining room table. She ended up doing part of it by hand because the machine wouldn’t re-thread, but they are finished and they look beautiful.

I’m very glad that we got an early start otherwise we would have no tablecloths for the party. I am also very happy that now that my Mom is retired she has plenty of time to “help” me with these types of projects. I will (eventually) learn to sew and hope to have a successful sewing project to share in the next year. (I have to give myself a realistic time frame.) I will definitely post more pictures after the party, but just imagine this trifle bowl filled with lemons and delicious yellow inspired food displayed and a vase of yellow daffodils. I can’t wait!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cake Project

Although I probably won’t make my own wedding cake, I thought it would be fun to try. My beautiful blue cake stand was sitting on my kitchen counter just wishing for a cake to hold. I am on vacation this week, so I had nothing but time to attempt this project. I don’t have any experience making layered cakes, especially not from scratch. I found a red velvet cake recipe that looked pretty straight forward and decided to just use canned cream cheese frosting. I did find simple cream cheese frosting recipe, but I didn’t want to overwhelm myself. I had to double the cake batter recipe to get all of my layers. I was also working with two different round pans, but the sizes were almost the same. (If I decide to make my own wedding cake, I will invest in matching pans.) Looking back, this project was not set up for success. I had mismatched pans, a brand new recipe and had to make several visits to the store to get more frosting, extra food coloring and new buttermilk. I am on vacation this week, so I didn’t mind the three trips to the store and it didn’t matter that it took me two days to finish the cake. The final result turned out pretty impressive if I do say so myself. We haven’t cut it yet, so I don’t know what it tastes like, but I want to savor the look of it for a few more hours.

(this is what I look like when I'm baking)