Monthly Archives: December 2018

I (want to) feel pretty

About a week ago, I received an email from the school district in my community promoting a Spa Day opportunity at the city’s vocational school. I clicked through the link provided in the email for more information and landed on the district website where I found a phone number to call for a consultation. Yesterday morning I phoned to presumably schedule an appointment for 2 services for $25 – a budget friendly price that I would happily pay for a facial and pedicure provided by students.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t that simple.

Do you see anything about paying in advance in person? Isn’t that an important detail?

To begin, the phone number provided on the website was to a number that didn’t get answered. You know how weird it is these days for a phone to just ring and ring without the option of leaving a message? Very, so I searched the district website until I located a main number for the school and called the office directly. I told the woman who answered what I was trying to accomplish, and shared the number I had previously called with her, only to learn that that number wasn’t a number, according to her, in the building. She said she didn’t know why the district would put that number on the webpage because she wasn’t familiar with it. Hmmmm. She suggested that I phone back in an hour when the teacher would have a class and thus, be available. I thought that was odd because generally when a teacher is teaching a class, that makes them unavailable. Curious.

I phoned back in an hour, calling the main office again, and on my second attempt, I was put through to the proper person who could schedule my services. Or so I thought. The woman presumably in charge of the event, explained that all appointments and services required payment in advance. In person. I asked what the hours were for the acceptance of payments and was informed that I could come by the school between 8:00 a.m. and 3 p.m. aka when I’m at work. There was no option for online payment or flexibility with regards with where or how to pay. Absurd.

While I’m a bit annoyed by this situation, more than that, I’m sad. I understand that there are probably issues with no show appointments and I am not opposed to paying in advance for my services, but the system for accomplishing this task should be far better than it is currently. Right now, it’s just plain ugly.

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Going back to Cali

The running here is magical. I’ve been known to take a run, drive back “home,” hear a good song and take a second run. True story.

Do I look like a desert girl to you? I said desert, not dessert, folks… As a fair skinned, half Irish person, I never imagined that I would be so captivated by the desert, specifically Palm Springs, but I absolutely love it there. There’s something about the dry heat, spectacular mountains and clear, cool nights that keeps me coming back for more and I’m excited to be visiting a close friend who lives there soon.

 

Have you been there? It truly is a desert oasis – gorgeous homes, beautiful people and a climate that during the winter and spring months offers fantastic running in the hills surrounding the city. Palm Springs is the place where I ate my first Mexican food and drank my first margarita, which obviously makes it forever special. I’ve also taken the aerial tramway to the top of the San Jacintos for a “hike,” spent a significant amount of time hanging out poolside, and, way back in the day, went as close to clubbing as I’ve ever been. It’s a fun, cool town and I’m looking forward to getting back there this winter.

 

Now, here’s where you come in – beyond the experiences I’ve already enjoyed in PS, what should I do when I’m there? I’ve been drawn to a mid-century modern aesthetic in recent years and am thinking that an architectural house tour might be fun. Have you ever done that there? The last time I was in Palm Springs I found a nice little hot yoga studio that I may hit up again, but maybe you have a recommendation for a place for a challenging class or two, preferably not Bikram? There seem to be hot springs in the area and I would love to soak outdoors in some hot and bubbly water. Suggestions? And, lastly, maybe you’ve been to the surrounding area? What else should I try to see when I’m there?

 

 

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Filed under beauty, California, Exercise, favorites, friends, Hiking, ideas, Recommendations, running, Uncategorized, winter, yoga

Wrapping up Rent the Runway

You know that credit game? The one when you transfer an outstanding balance on a credit card to a new bank which promises zero percent interest for a limited amount of time, which gives you enough time to pay off your debt at a minimal expense? Well, back in the day, I was a champ at that game. My recent experience with Rent the Runway provided me with a similar sense of totallygettingoverontheman accomplishment.

To recap, I purchased a one month unlimited subscription which provided me with 4 garments at a time with an unlimited number of swaps for new items. There was no charge for shipping, cleaning or insurance. All this came for a special offer price of $106, a great discount from the usual $159+ tax charge.


Here’s how I maximized my rentals:

 I purchased and activated the subscription exactly one month minus a day ahead of the big event I planned to attend in a rented gown. This meant the last day of my subscription, aka the day everything needed to be shipped back, was the day after my event.
 My first couple of shipments included gowns that I was considering for the gala. The dress I ultimately selected arrived in my very first shipment and hung on the back of my bedroom door for the entire month – great incentive for running that extra mile and declining a third cookie. Although this decision meant I really only had 3 slots in rotation, I was too worried that I’d somehow “lose” the dress if I sent it back and tried to have it reshipped closer to my date.
 My absolute favorite item was the gorgeous, purple motorcycle jacket which arrived brand new with tags on. I wore the hell out of it for a week and felt like a rockstar each time I put it on.
 I made a point of choosing garments that are beyond my budget. Why waste time with a dress that retails for $150* when you can wear one that would set you back $500 or $600? 


I’ve placed my membership on “hold” rather than cancelling it, which gives me the option of simply restarting my subscription. This courtesy is available for 3 months at which point I’ll need to either restart or cancel. I’ll see what kind of deals I’m offered in the next 10 or 12 weeks and will consider reactivating if the price is right and my social life demands an infusion of new outfits.


Overall verdict – awesome. If you’re interested in giving it a whirl, leave a comment and I’ll try to share a code that will give you $30 off your rental.

*even $150 is more than I’ve ever spent on a garment other than a leather coat.

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Filed under Events, Fashion, favorites, ideas, Observations, Recommendations

When…

You find yourself spending more time packing and unpacking your overnight bag than you do cleaning your house

There are events 3 out of 4 nights

Cocktails and cookies have replaced wine and ice cream as your seasonal vices.

You spend more on your weekly grocery trip than you do on your monthly utility bill.

The days fly so fast that you can’t keep up with the calendar.

A holiday song comes on a shuffled playlist.

Addressing envelopes occupies your hands, even before the folding of the laundry, during your rare moments on the couch watching an episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Baking kicks into high gear

You know Christmas is coming.

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Little Pecks knows what you want

At a time of the year occupied with what one wants for Christmas, I’ve found myself twice in the past week in a position where it’s lunch time, but I’m lunchless without a clue as to what I want to eat. You know I’ve got some food issues and I’m kind of particular about what I eat, so these kind of situations stress me out. Often I know what I don’t want – food that’s expensive, unnecessarily heavy or too time consuming, but I’m at a loss as to what will satisfy.

On the first recent occasion, I selected a couple of items from the prepared case at the nearby deli which left me feeling less than satisfied. The tuna salad, with a side of pickled beets and onions, I bought was tasty but it just didn’t fill me up. I regretted my choices.

Monday afternoon I found myself between appointments in Troy, hungry. I made my way to Broadway, parked and considered my options. The Placid Baker was closed, the Whistling Kettle felt like too much of a commitment, and the Illium Cafe seemed like more than I was looking for in the 30 minutes I had available. Little Pecks for the win.

While the baked goods looked awesome, I knew that I wanted something more substantial and less carb-y. The chalkboard menu had a number of items that sounded delicious, but nothing really appealed until I read this:

CHICKPEA & SQUASH STEW
salsa verde, fried breadcrumb

Yes, this was exactly what I craved. I placed my order at the counter, took my table marker and made my way to the light-filled atrium where I found a seat. A few minutes later, I was spooning into a flavorful stew of firm chickpeas and tender squash, finished with buttery breadcrumbs, bright salsa verde and the unexpected brininess of capers. It was perfect.

Thanks, Little Pecks, for giving me my belief in an unplanned lunch back. Now, back to that holiday shopping list…

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Filed under Eating, Food, holidays, Local, Recommendations, Troy, Uncategorized, upstate New York

Current favorite cocktail – Fall Spritz!

I’m more a wine or cider girl, but I’m smitten with Amaro, an Italian liqueur. There’s something about this herbaceous, syrupy elixir that I really enjoy when I’m looking for a nightcap of just few sips of something alcoholic. I picked up a bottle of it last winter when I was coming home from Rome and every so often it’s exactly what I’m looking for at the end of a night.

Flipping through the November issue of Bon Appetit last week, I came across a super simple (2 ingredients and a citrus garnish) cocktail using Amaro and just knew it would be the perfect cocktail to offer my guests at our family Thanksgiving dinner – the Fall Spritz. It’s four parts of dry, hard cider to one part Amaro. Talk about two of my favorite things! As I finished the food preparations, I handed the magazine and the task to my trusty neighbor and he mixed us up a batch.

It was a delicious way to start a festive night – fairly low in alcohol, not overly sweet and with a bit of effervescence from the cider. Yummy! It was a unanimous verdict and that round of drinks, I expect, will not be the last time we enjoy that particular libation together.

I stopped downtown the other night at dp’s, intending to indulge in one of their well crafted cocktails from the current list, however, I stopped in my tracks when I read the ingredients of an appealing cocktail. There was one made with Amaro! I cheekily asked the bartender if he would go off menu and make me a fall spritz. As ever, he accommodated my request and made two versions using different styles of Amaro. It seems there are many varieties and they range in color (and taste, I imagine) from light to dark amber.

My preference is the darker version and that was the cocktail I selected – and thoroughly enjoyed. I may need more Amaro.

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Filed under Albany, drinking, favorites, friends, Local, Recommendations, Uncategorized, winter