Friday, February 28, 2014

Act up!

This is the acting school E goes to for his improv class. If you're interested in getting your child or teen into this kind of activity, check them out and tell them I sent you! We've been very happy with our experience there. This is E's third semester.

Thinking about Kids & Teen Summer Acting Camps?
Weekly TV/Film & Performance Day Camps in NYC 
ATNY's Broadway & Beyond Sleep-Away! Aug 19 - Aug 24th


A New Amazing Location, A New Amazing Week!
Young Performers Sleep-Away Camp w/Showcase!
At Sports & Arts Center at Island Lake, PA!
August 19th - August 24th!
Join ATNY & Broadway Instructors, Ages 7 - 17
Transportation Provided to/from NYC!


Prepare for Final Agent & TV/Film Casting Director Showcase in NYC
TV/Film On-Camera Scene, Monologue, Improvisation, Singing Solo's
and Ensemble Performance, Broadway Dance w/Top B'way Talent!
Just $695 for Entire Week w/Early Registration, APRIL 1st!

Includes a $100 Gift Certificate to any ATNY Program!


Early Registration Discounts, Sibling Discounts

EARLY DISCOUNT With Deposit, $250, 917.763.1777 





Pick Your Week in June, July or August.  Comprehensive Programs.
Starts June 24th, Weekly Options!  Housing Referrals.

Meisner Technique, On-Camera TV/Film Scene Auditioning
Improvisation, Character Movement/Dance, Voice & Singing, Monologue
Speech & Diction, Text Analysis.  Commercial & TV/Film Legit Study.
NYC Agent & Manager Recommended.

Flexible Weeks.  4-Day, 12-Class Format 


Housing Referrals, 917.763.1777
Sibling Discounts. Inquire Now.
Pearl Studios: 500 8th Ave. 35/36th St. NYC
Conveniently located Near Port Authority & Madison Sq. Garden


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blue Apron

It's well documented that I don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Well, actually I do spend time in the kitchen, but almost none of it is spent cooking. I visit with my Beta fish- Sam #who knows at this point, and re-heating pre-prepared foods (prepared by other people such as the fine folks at the Trader Joe's plant).

I've made things. I make a ridiculously fantastic brisket, a noodle kugel, turkey meatloaf, some crock pot meat meals, and Purdue "chicken in a bag", but I'm not sure I can count that one because again, it's more like re-heating. It IS raw but it's already seasoned, and by golly, its already IN A BAG, that it cooks IN, so I'm not even making a mess. I can also bake, and one of things I do bake is made from scratch. But that's pretty much it. I've made some other things but stuff that I also don't really consider cooking. Like my version of chicken tacos. It's just browning ground chicken and adding marinara to the chicken because I don't want to try any kind of taco sauce. Don't judge me. Marinara & mozzarella are my go-to's for just about anything and everything. When in doubt just Jersey-Parmesan it.

I wish I wasn't but I'm SO picky. I generally like standard American fare or Italian-American. And that's where my food adventure ends. I order the same thing every time I go out to eat- grilled salmon with some kind of starch and vegetable. Every now and then a risotto side or polenta will get thrown in with salmon depending on the restaurant.

I have a group of friends from an online message board who have been talking & raving about Blue Apron for months now. The thought of getting a box of unprepared food delivered to my home with ALL* the ingredients seemed interesting. One of them gave me a free week to try it out (Thanks Adria!) How hard could it be?


Blue Apron came. It was a lovely padded box with ice packs in it. All the bits and pieces were in there- spices, veggies, plants- whatever. Most of it things I've never seen in they're raw, natural, birthed state. A tree of mint, a flower of garlic all humps attached,  kumquats, a half head of escarole (wtf IS that?), bulbs of Brussles sprouts, a stalk of lemongrass, freekeh, and so on. Luckily there were instructions and some pictures. Everything is labeled but still. I quickly checked what I needed for the fish meal and threw the rest in the fridge.

This is where it gets a little hairy. Blue Apron is not REALLY for the totally novice. The recipe cards SAY the prep time for these meals should be 35 minutes. Not on your life. Granted, I was doing a play by play on Facebook with my Blue Apron loving friends group who just wanted to enjoy my cooking journey but that didn't take up much time. AND I NEEDED THEIR HELP. Desperately. I started this whole thing at around 6p and finished at 7:39p.

First of all, I must not have read the fine print because there ARE a few things you're expected to have already- like salt, pepper and olive oil. I understand the majority of people have these items. But when I say I don't cook, I really don't cook. If I am, it's really not so much cooking as blending things already made. For example, in my turkey meatloaf, I use a cup of marinara from a jar. Whatever spices are in that marinara are my spices. Or I use a prepackaged meatloaf seasoning mix by McCormick. My brisket only has five ingredients- brisket, Kikkoman Lite soy sauce, lemon pepper, paprika, and onions. So it's not like I have a lot of spicing just laying around for a rainy day. I only have olive oil because my friend Lindsay made a quinoa salad I loved and copy every now and again. I don't even know if olive oil goes bad! But that's another topic....

Brussels sprouts, kumquats, Garlic baby teeth
I didn't have pepper, which was needed for the Tilapia meal they sent. But I did have lemon pepper for brisket so I used that. It said to "mince garlic". Granted, I could look this up, but I just cut it. I showed a picture to my friends who all pretty much capital lettered me- "MAKE IT SMALLER!!". Apparently minced garlic is not supposed to be the size of baby teeth. It also seemed to have a tail, one of the garlic humps, which just made me laugh inappropriately. A little garlic penis, if you will.

 I was instructed to make lime zest out of a lime rind I had to take off myself. It said to "mince" also. Well...I don't think I did it correctly and it would've been helpful for me to be able to see what lime zest is supposed to look like. Maybe a YouTube tutorial for each meal would be more helpful. I don't own a grater, which someone suggested I zest with.

There was just a lot of multitasking to be done. I'm cooking freekeh and it was almost done when I read ahead and realized I was supposed to be cooking the glaze concurrently. Then I went to toast my nuts and I left them there too long so they started to burn. I got them off the flame quickly but it could've really gone awry.

I also forgot to put oil in the pan before throwing the fish in so I had to find a spatula thing to get them before they started cooking. Then, I didn't put the garlic in a pan before the Brussels sprouts so I had to throw it all in together and hope for the best.

It ended up being good. Really good. I called B in to eat quickly before it got cold. He was impressed with the meal. He said it looked and tasted like a gourmet restaurant meal. But, I looked like the Nutty Professor, and the kitchen looked like Mr White and Jesse's RV Meth lab. Just call me Heisenberg of Blue Apron. Well, not yet. Right now I think I'm Todd. Again, another conversation but we just watched five of the last eight Breaking Bad in the past two days and honestly, it's all I can think about. Anyway, I enjoyed freekeh way more than I thought I would.

Disaster kitchen

Pros: If you want to make something different, cool, interesting, new, etc, this is GREAT. If you want to impress a spouse or a significant other- awesome. The price is pretty good for gourmet style meals for two people for three days of a week. Especially when you're dealing with some really off the beaten path ingredients. I would NEVER even know where to FIND some of this stuff.

Con: If you don't know ANYTHING about cooking and you don't have friends to help you step by step, you could really be in over your head. If you don't have stuff like a grater (thanks Kay), garlic press (thanks Sam, Julie, etc), chef's knife (thanks Tiffany), it can definitely add to the challenge.

I don't know if I would just take it out of the box at 6p again and try to start cooking that night, I think if you don't know what you're doing, it might behoove you to take it all out, put it away and then read the recipes in full to get familiar with what you're going to be doing. I basically sprung it on myself like a pop quiz for a final grade.

B said - "I guess we won't be eating those pot stickers for awhile.". Yeah no. I'm not quite ready for another cooking undertaking. Give me like a week.

This meal was the "Kumquat Lime Glazed Tilapia with Brussels Sprouts and Almond Freekeh". Also with that I received: Center Cut Pork Chops with Carmelized Onions & Blue Cheese Grits                                  Chicken Pot Stickers with Baby Tatsoi

Half eaten meal when I realized I needed a photo

*You should have salt, black pepper, olive oil at home prior to receiving an order

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Save Parenthood!

Or Nashville!


I voted Parenthood but it was a real Sophie's Choice between Parenthood and Nashville....let me tell you. I went with my gut.

Update- No, SAVE PARENTHOOD. I read that Nashville will most likely get renewed. Parenthood has decent ratings but a "large and thus expensive cast".

Monday, February 17, 2014

More Drawing Room Info

Trapped in the house too long? Kids off school AGAIN? Winter Recess housebound itch?
We are closed to regular class schedule.

Calling all children and adults for a FUN, relaxing and creative way to spend your week off.
Full day 10 am to 3 pm bring a lunch or
Half day sessions 10 am to noon or 1 to 3 pm.
We will be doing a different media each session.
You can register on line for these workshops at under calendar of events on home page.

The week will culminate with our first
Friday February 21
7 to 10 pm
$45 great night out- all art supplies and pizza included.
BYOB and a smile. Register on calendar of events.

Like their FB page-

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Scam Alert

From the Glen Rock Police Dept via Facebook

SCAM ALERT: Tax season is upon us and we just received notification of a new scam. A borough resident reported she received a phone call from a heavily accented female claiming to be from the IRS. She told the resident that an error with her tax return had initiated an investigation and she was required to call an IRS attorney. The victim was provided a "case number" and a phone number to call. Had she continued, the victim would have been threatened with arrest and aske...d to pay funds via a prepaid debit card or similar process.

This is a verified scam and any residents receiving similar calls should ignore them. If you have any concerns follow the link to see the IRS warning regarding this scam and phone numbers you can call for additional information. You can also contact the GRPD Detective Bureau for any advice regarding potential scams at 201-670-3948 or 201-670-3947.
IRS YouTube Video:
Tax Scams:
English | Spanish | ASL
IR-2013-84, Oct. 31, 2013
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

“This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country.  We want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves.  Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer,” says IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. “If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling.” Werfel noted that the first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur via mail
Other characteristics of this scam include:
  • Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
  • Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
  • Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
  • Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
  • Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
  • After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:
  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
  • If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at  Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.  This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to

More information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS is available on the genuine IRS website,
You can reblog the IRS tax scam alert via Tumblr.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Adults Only *Updated*

Looking for something different and cool to do with your spouse or your girlfriends? How about a "creative" night. No, it isn't rated R but it does include alcohol if you bring it! Sounds like a good time to me!

There will now be live music. Paul DeCarlo on guitar and possibly a flutist if she is available.
Facebook page:

Creativity and Cocktails - Mosaics

Creativity and Cocktails - Mosaics
Friday Feb 21, 2014 at 7:00pm
7:00 PM — 10:00 PM
Sign Up!
Looking for a unique night out? Our adult Creativity & Cocktails program provides an exciting night of art, drinks, friends, and fun. No art experience is necessary. Our instructors provide the materials for you to create your very own masterpiece. Bring your own beverage and create art in a relaxing setting with music. Perfect for ladies night out, couples/date night, a bachelorette party, you-name-it!

This session is a mosaic creating workshop. Pizza is included! BYOB.

27 Central Ave - 2nd Floor
Midland Park, NJ 07432
Christine Zaccardi

****Also all of their Summer themes are up on the website and parents can start registering for summer.****

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happiness Is...

It's dark, gray, dreary, and we're trapped in the house due to snow. Again. The cool party I was supposed to go to tonight is postponed till the end of the month due to....MORE snow. I went tanning for nothing. Well, not for nothing....I prefer to be tan. But I could've put that on hold for another week or so. Side-eye me, judge, whatever. Don't care. I'm a child of the 80's and spent most of it in the Tanique waiting room with my tan parents.

BUT, this entry isn't about complaining! Or tanning. It's about fun stuff. Because I don't want to think about snow, a $0 day in the store, my poor husband having to shovel and my son having to bounce off the walls of our home for another day.

I want to talk about stuff I'm loving lately. Stuff that has been putting a smile on my face. So here goes:

-Birthday Cake Pops from Starbucks: I don't drink coffee really. But lately I've been feeling really tired at work. Probably the weather- I don't know. If I am going to drink coffee, I'll get a Skinny Vanilla Latte from Starbucks. I saw these cake pops and asked for one on a whim. I shouldn't have because it's delicious. And now I think about them when I'm not eating them. I've had some really good cake pops and some really bad ones and these are awesome.

-I don't know what's going on over at Weight Watchers but they've been rolling out some awesome stuff. I tried some Weight Watchers Peanut Butter Brownie Bliss bars and they rock. Same with the red velvet mini cakes. I used to think their desserts were less than tasty but they must have really worked on their recipes. Granted, I could eat a whole box of either of the above, which is totally not the point of them, but whatever, They're YUM.

-Kids straw cups have always been the bane of my existence. They all leak. I've tried pretty much every, single one. I have a few that have been ok, doing their job, but E is getting older and the ones I have look kind of babyish. Regular sport bottles are annoying to open and close and if he doesn't close all the way, there's water all over the back of my car. My friend Ann brought her daughter's CamelBak Eddy for kids over the other day and it looks way cooler than your typical kid's straw cup (like Munchkin or Nuby). I ordered one immediately. I got it yesterday and it seems like it is leak-proof. At least for now till he bites through he straw, which he has been known to do.

-I had a Fitbit Zip. I lost it in the Bergen Mall or Paramus Park in December. Not sure which. I love my Fitbit because it keeps me motivated. I'll walk a little extra just to get more steps in. I'll park further away from the mall door to get my step count up. I was SO upset when I lost it. I ordered the Fitbit One as a replacement. I wanted to try the sleep monitor component. I really love this thing. Some people call it a glorified pedometer, but if it gets me moving, I don't care. I like that it counts stairs (the Zip did not differentiate stairs from regular steps) and I can see how many floors I climbed. It just makes exercise a bit more interesting. Because I'm in a daily competition with myself to get more steps in. But you can also link to your friends to compete with them. Another bonus is you connect it to the computer to recharge it. No battery to keep buying, like with the Zip.

-I never got on the leggings train. B hates them when women wear them as pants and I generally don't think they do anyone's body any favors. BUT, I went to the VS Semi-Annual Sale as I do every January and June. I saw these VS PINK leggings and bought a pair on a whim. I wish I bought 10 more. They're the softest, stretchiest, amazing leggings. I have their Ponte leggings too and I like them, but they're thicker and not quite the same. These PINK leggings are like being naked but not. I can't stress my love for them enough. They don't pill either which the Ponte pants totally do. And they're pretty inexpensive.

-I've had the same white winter coat since around 2005. Maybe even prior. I'm the messiest person ever but I like white coats because I walk at night. Well, Megan and I used to walk a lot more but I'm optimistic that we will return to this eventually. Life's been busy. Anyway, I've totally almost hit people with my car who wear dark clothing at night. My coat was a Larry Levine part down coat. I love the style of it but it got really stained, I bleached the heck out of it and it's still stained. And it just wasn't warm enough. I started researching down coats and most were way too expensive for me. But I was able to find a 600 fill down coat- North Face Greta. I got it, in while, on DEEP sale from Backcountry online and I LOVE IT. My old coat wasn't long enough. It would ride up when I got in the car and my back would hit the cold seat. It was annoying. This is the perfect length. Not too long and not too short. Lots of pockets and even a goggle wipe attached in a pocket on the sleeve for skiing.

If you buy it online through any online store Ebates is attached to, you can even get a percentage of the money back! Make sure you go through Ebates first and make a tracking ticket before your purchase or it won't count and you won't get the money.

-I don't drink alcohol really. And I definitely don't drink wine. But I thought these were worth a mention because everyone else I know seems to drink wine. They seem really convenient. Like juice boxes for adults.

Stack Wines offers quality wine without the hassle of a bottle, corkscrew, or stemware. STACK is a bottle of wine separated into four stemless wine glasses. Each glass contains 187ml of wine and a 4-pack has the same volume, 750 ml, as a traditional bottle of wine. Available in Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Charisma (red blend).

STACK is the perfect wine solution for a picnic, barbeque, tailgating party, concert, festival or simply for a glass at home without opening an entire bottle.

So that's my list for now. Off the top of my head. I just wanted to throw out some fun stuff to try or think about while we're all trapped in our house with tons of snow outside! Stay safe and warm!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Drawing Room

A few months ago, a pretty young girl came into my store and asked if we could hang a flyer up about The Drawing Room. I said we would and I didn't really think about it beyond that. I wasn't looking to sign E up for anything else. We are already committed to Taekwondo, tap/ballet, and improv class in NYC. And I work. I don't really have time for anything else. In the back of my mind though, I'm always wondering what other "outside-the-box" activity he might be missing out on. But, I have to be discerning because all these classes cost money and truthfully, I've sent him to some that I didn't think were worth the time, money, and/or running around.

Our partner at work noticed the flyer and said it looked like a cool place. I looked it up but I couldn't really find any information on classes so I sent an email. Christine Zaccardi, the owner got back to me. She told me to bring E in to try a class. I made a date for January 31.

E's print making

I didn't know what to expect. Honestly, I was kind of worried it was just going to be like the kind of stuff he brings home from school. Not that what he brings home currently isn't "good" but it's not "serious art". It's more "arts & crafts", which is what he SHOULD be doing in preschool, but I don't need to pay for basically just more paper to come into the house. However, he had been expressing more of a serious interest in art, spending hours drawing freehand, tracing, and building out of materials like wood and paint. So I thought this could be interesting. I asked what they do there for his age group and Christine explained that they work on different things every week. That was very intriguing to me. It sounded like he wouldn't get bored because he'd be learning something really new every week. For the class E would be auditing, they'd be doing "print making". I didn't even know what that was, but it sounded cool.

I brought him to their studio which is in Midland Park. It's really amazing. When I got there, there was one little girl that would be taking class with E, but there was also an older class, being taught by Patti Spinnler, of four tweens- one girl and THREE boys. All twelve years old. I found that to be really interesting because when you think of art class, just like with dance, you kind of expect the girls to outnumber the boys. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many boys. And they were REALLY into what they were doing, as was their teacher. What I also want to add was that these boys weren't stereotypical anything. Not nerdy, not goth, just typical, seemingly normal kids. I add this because someone actually ASKED me- "Were they nerdy?" I didn't even know what exactly connotates "nerdy" these days. But I used my own definition of what I would think nerdy could be and it wasn't any of the kids I saw there creating their art.

Patti Spinnler showing off some recent projects
Christine took time to talk to me while Ethan took class with Jaclyn Woudenberg, the same pretty girl who came to my store to bring the flyer. Christine gave me a quick history and explained that the major part of what they do is help kids do their portfolios to get into schools. Middle schoolers trying to get into a school like Bergen Academies and high school students applying to art colleges. Kat Rutler was working with two high schoolers while Christine was showing me around. She was helping them figure out what to put into their portfolios and critiquing their work. It was an amazing process to watch. One of the students was a senior boy who decided on the later side that he wants to go to art school and needed a portfolio ready, quick. The other was a really pretty blond ex-gymnast, senior, turned photographer and fine artist.
After I was shown around and given a lot of information to digest, Christine went to work with her students. She is focused and serious about getting them and stuff ready for whatever they need. I just sat quietly and watched her photograph the girl student's work with her for her portfolio.

Christine working with her student on his portfolio
The class E was in was either 90 minutes or 120 minutes depending on the students. I was told there are normally more students in that time slot, in his age group (5-6 yrs old) but the schedules are pretty flexible since Christine and the other teachers are there pretty much all the time. The girl that was with E that day was there for 90 minutes so that's how long he was in class for. He loved it. LOVED. He is pretty amenable to any activity. I tell him we're going here or there and he usually doesn't have an issue, but some things are more appealing of course. I didn't know what to expect from him. I know he likes drawing and creating but he's never taken a serious art class and/or for that length of time in one sitting. When he was finished, he immediately came out and said, "Mom! I LOVE this place! We can come back
here, right??!"

Jaclyn teaching the little ones how to do print making

Basically, classes seem to work like this: There is a slot of time open- 2 hours. Depending on who is signed up, they break it up by age. Jaclyn took the little ones and Patti took the bigger kids. I'm explaining this because on the class schedule brochure, classes are broken up into three categories:

Mommy & Me- ages 2-4
Budding Artists- ages 4-6
Art Experience- ages 5-11

I was confused because the Budding Artists age and Art Experience age groups overlap at the younger end of the scale. I asked how it works having five year olds and eleven year olds in the same class. Then I saw firsthand that it's not actually all of them together, which makes sense. The difference between the Budding Artists and the Art Experience, from what I can see, is the amount of time. Budding Artists is one and a half hours and Art Experience is two hours. I can see some 4-6 year olds having hitting a threshold at an hour and a half, but it's nice that the ones five and up who can handle it, have the two hours.

I was mostly interested in the classes for E's age. Because that's what I'm personally dealing with. But I didn't even know there was a service available for what they do with the middle and high school kids. They also do scout programs and birthday parties. I think the birthday parties would be an awesome thing to do in the seven years old and older age groups when it's less kids and they can make something really awesome to take home with them. They also do afterschool programs which they work with the school to get involved with.

Kat showing me a portfolio

I love that it's six women working together to help kids learn about and create art in a very supportive environment. Especially at a time when schools are losing funding for the arts left and right. When I was at The Drawing Room, one of the women who teach was out doing a school program.

There are so many extracurricular activities to pick from for our kids but this is one you can definitely feel good about. I told E that we can sign him up in September, when he goes to kindergarten. We're just overcommitted right now on all fronts. But, after having him take the class, I think it's 100% worth it! It's awesome to see kids really enjoying & excelling in something so worthwhile. E was so proud of his work.

I know I put a lot of photos in this entry but there was just so much to see and take in. This wasn't even the half of it!

There is so much more I could tell but I don't want to make this a novel. In addition to classes, they also have quite a list of services including- portraits, custom artwork (like for businesses), murals, graphic design & printing, wedding illustration and face painting! You can check out their newly launched, revamped website for much, much, more information.

About us page:
Classes page:
Programs page:

The Drawing Room, LLC
27 Central Ave 2nd Floor
Midland Park, NJ 07432

Student's artwork outside the classrooms of The Drawing Room classrooms

Friday, February 7, 2014


I think the first time I saw a Galileo thermometer was in my sorority house. I'm pretty sure my Little Sister (ZTA!) had one. I didn't know that's what it was called. But I thought it was so cool looking. I never got one but I always wanted one. They just look pretty. And more fun than any typical thermometer.

I've known Seth for almost as long as E has been alive. I met his wife Michelle before E was even born. They had a son a few months younger than E and the boys became friends. Somewhere along the line I met Seth. He recently opened this online store called Glassic Gifts. I immediately liked their page on Facebook.

I saw they were doing a giveaway of the Galileo thermometer. I entered but I didn't win anything. I was bummed. I wanted that thermometer! I happened to see another giveaway for a Goethe Weather Ball barometer. I didn't know what I would do with that, but E has really been into science lately so I figured if I won I'd give it to him.


Then Seth dropped off the Goethe Weather Ball barometer, and without asking, gave me the thermometer too!! I was so excited. It's on my mantle now. They're really cool. If you don't know what to get the person that has everything, or even a kid. It's a fun way to teach about temperature. They're definitely unique gifts. E had a great time making green water with food coloring to fill the barometer.

Check them out-

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Baba Wawa

What is going ON with Barbara Walters? It's like she lost her mind. I know she's like eighty-something years old, but seriously. When she announced she was retiring, I thought it was sad. I've watched some of the greatest interviews of all time with Barbara asking the questions. Who could forget Monica Lewinsky and those LIPS? That Club Monaco lipstick and liner that saw sales through the roof after that one.

But now, I think she needs to go. First, she's staunchly defending Woody Allen. Look, no one knows what really happened but Dylan Farrow & Woody Allen. But to use the excuse- "I know him, I've seen him with his kids [with Soon Yi] and he's a great dad"- sounds insane. Plenty of molesters seem normal to the outside world. In every conviction on the news you hear someone say "I would have NEVER thought he'd do something like that! He was so sweet/good natured/helpful." Sure, you get the straight up creepy guy you had a feeling about, every now and again. But more often than not, it's the regular Joe who is able to hide it from the people they know and love. Barbara's statements are dangerous and come off as a very naïve, old-school way of thinking. "I like him, therefore he must be innocent".

I don't believe or not believe Dylan Farrow. I feel like it's important to still believe in "innocent until proven guilty". I think the whole scene is weird, messed up, you name it. Mia Farrow has been venomous since her split with Woody. And rightfully so- he did take off with her adopted daughter. But, that doesn't automatically make him guilty either. She's been known to lie as well. Her anger at him is also well-documented and long standing. I've seen Ronan Farrow. No way did that kid come from a Mia/Woody sexcapade. I would bet my life that he's Frank Sinatra's kid. I've seen all the side by sides! Come ON. I've also seen enough Lifetime movies to know how often children of angry, messy divorces are turned against one parent. I used to be a social worker dealing with abused, neglected & delinquent teens. I've seen kids be totally brainwashed and I've heard them lie about serious offenses. I've seen enough cop dramas to see how ADULTS have been manipulated into confessing after being brainwashed into believing their own guilt. I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that Mia could have made Dylan think these things happened to her. I'M NOT SAYING THAT *IS* WHAT HAPPENED. All I'm saying is that we don't KNOW what happened, and I don't believe Mia Farrow is someone we're going to get truth from. I also don't think a seven year old would make that up. I believe she thinks what she's accused him of really happened. I just don't know enough of anything to have a strong opinion either way. One son saying it is true, one son is saying it isn't, and it's very Dr Phil. Maybe they should all go on and take lie detector tests. And then make the round over to Maury to hear- "Woody, you ARE NOT THE FATHER!".

The point is, Barbara shouldn't be saying he didn't do it without really knowing ANYTHING about the actual abuse. By saying what she's saying, she is essentially calling Dylan a liar. That's a very slippery slope in her position as a respected journalist. She knows Mia and she knows Woody. But she wasn't there when it allegedly happened and she really has no idea what went on. She's basing her opinion and defense of Woody Allen on how much she likes him. It sounds INSANE. Apparently no one thought Sandusky seemed or looked like a child molester either. We know how that turned out. Shut. Up. Barbara.

I didn't hear everything she said on this topic but I saw Nancy Lee Grahn's twitter feed blow up last night about it. I thought the parts of The View I already heard were pretty damning but it must have gotten worse. I'll have to go back and watch the ones I have on DVR.

Then, today, they were discussing Phillip Seymour Hoffman's death. They ladies were discussing the arrest of the heroin dealers they think were the ones to sell PSH the drugs. It came up that it was basically a manhunt for these guys. Jenny McCarthy said what a lot of people have been thinking, which is that if this was just a John Doe or some guy in Harlem, no one would care and there would be no hunt. This was going on just as they were going to break. As they were going out, Jenny was saying that and Barbara said, "We don't know that..." Uh, yes, Barbara, we actually do. People are dying from heroin around the tri-state area and all over the country, DAILY. There hasn't been such a high or low profile case in a drug overdose yet that elicited that kind of search for the dealer that I can come up with. It FEELS like because his work and personhood was so well respected, all bets were off and the manhunt began. The acting world and the fans need someone to blame and they don't want it to be PSH. In the end, to me, finding and prosecuting these dealers is great. Because famous deaths or the average person, getting these people off the street, shutting down their business, is good for someone. Or groups of addicts. The people who haven't tried it yet but would. However, it does just feel like an injustice, somehow, to those lost before PSH, without the clout behind their name.

It just illustrates how there seems to be a hierarchy of importance placed on certain people's lives for maybe the wrong reasons. Everyone is someone to someone.

Barbara, Barbara, Barbara....either you've gone soft, senile, or just backwards in your thinking...but you need to shape up. This isn't how you want to go out.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

GRJC Show Time

Glen Rock Jewish Center
It's Show Time!

Glen Rock Jewish Center Film Series
"Sholem Aleichem:   
Laughing in the Darkness"

Date:   Sunday, February 16, 2014  
 Place:  Glen Rock Jewish Center -- 682 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, NJ
Time:  4:00 pm
Fee:  $10/person, includes popcorn, snacks, soft drinks, coffee and tea.
$8 for seniors 65 and older.  Open to the public.
Contact:  GRJC Office at 201-652-6624
 The GRJC Film Series Committee is excited to announce our next program! Join us on Sunday, February 16 at 4:00 pm for  "Sholem Aleichem:  Laughing in the Darkness."   The film's director, Joseph Dorman, is coming to Glen Rock and will attend to lead a discussion about his experiences making this fascinating documentary. It's going to be great!

Sholem Aleichem is the acclaimed Yiddish-language author who wrote about a time and place in Eastern Europe that no one else did:  the late 19th century shtetl.  He created Tevye the milkman, who of course later went on to fame and fortune on Broadway as the main character in "Fiddler on the Roof"!  That great play is noted not only for its amazing score, but for the story of the lives of the Jews in Europe many of whom were expelled from Russia in the wake of the pogroms in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Here is what the film's website says:   
 A riveting portrait of the great writer whose stories became the basis of the Broadway musical "Fiddler on the Roof." "Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness" tells the tale of the rebellious genius who created an entirely new literature. Plumbing the depths of a Jewish world locked in crisis and on the cusp of profound change, he captured that world with brilliant humor. Sholem Aleichem was not just a witness to the creation of a new modern Jewish identity, but one of the very men who shaped it.
TICKETS MAY BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE ONLINE! Click on (or paste into your browser) to order tickets and guarantee your seat! Any remaining tickets will be available at the door on the day of the event.

Each year the GRJC Film Series strives to present a diverse set of films with a Jewish connection. We addressed  Jewish-American culture in last year's programs "Jews in Baseball: An American Love Story" and "Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg." We delved into modern Jewish history with "Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald." And we turned our attention to Israel, with the powerful political documentary "To Die in Jerusalem" and with a program of funny, timely and poignant short films about the complexities of everyday life in contemporary Israel. Join us as we continue to show high quality films paired with preeminent speakers who bring perspective and depth and reveal the untold story behind each film.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dinner & Whipped

It's no secret I don't watch or care about any sporting. Superbowl, whether it's down the road or across the country, is of no interest to me. We made a house call appointment to assess a room for a very large chandelier for late last Sunday afternoon. All the way down in the Red Bank area.

We normally don't go that far for this kind of thing. But the woman who wants the chandelier is really nice and she loves our stuff. We also like that area and had no other plans so it seemed like a good day to go. The weather was nice, mild and sunny so we took our drive down. B went to Monmouth University so he feels nostalgic about the whole area.

The house call went well and decided to stay down there to go to eat. We went to the main strip in Red Bank and found a nice restaurant to try. It's called Blue Ocean Grill. It looked on the fancier side and it's definitely in the higher price range. Like, Houston's entrée pricing. When we came in it was only 4:30p & empty, so they didn't mind Ethan in there, carrying his bagel. I assume they expected it to be quiet that night because of the Superbowl. They were out of some stuff because we were early and they were waiting on a delivery. So they were REALLY accommodating and let us put our own meal together. They had no scallops so I had Chilean Sea Bass with butternut squash risotto and pumpkin seeds. It was SO good. B had Tilapia with cous cous and it was also very good. It was just a really nice meal and Helen, our hostess and server, was really helpful. She also took cards and said she'd recommend Shades of Soho so that really was excellent service in my book!


I'd seen a pink & brown awning on our way to the restaurant that said something about a dessert café. I knew I wanted to find THAT place. After dinner we walked over a few streets and there it was. The name is "Whipped Café". It looked like they were closing but the two guys there let us in. I only caught one of the owners names- Nick, but he was very nice and told me all about the place. ***Was just informed the "other guy" is Mike. So thanks to you too Mike***

They specialize in crepes. The crepe machine or accoutrements were off already but I could choose pastries and/or cookies. I was a bit skeptical they'd be good, if I'm being honest. I've had A LOT of cake. And usually, those fancy pastries look better than they taste. The only ones that I think taste as good as they look are from La Promenade in Tenafly. But I digress.

I remember asking Pam (a la cupcakes) last year why hers taste so much better than the competition. She explained about different ingredients and also the difference between fresh-that-day cake and cake that's been made one day, frozen and thawed another day. I've definitely had hard or crumbly cake that either had less than the best ingredients or wasn't made fresh daily.

I picked a "strawberry shortcake" from the case. They look pretty. Like fancy little cakes. But perfect size- not chintzy at all. Nick put it in the box and showed me- he put FRESH STRAWBERRIES in the box next to my pastry to put on top. I thought that was such a cool touch. I had to take a photo.

I'm not usually into food "presentation" but this was a nice little extra they could've skipped but didn't. B and E got chocolate chip cookies. My son declared- "It was the best cookie, EVER."

I saved mine to eat till after we got home. Now, imagine- we got there when they were closing around 6p. They said they don't usually close that early on Sunday but they were anticipating a slow night because of the Superbowl. The whole street seemed kind of dead. Most bakery type places by the end of the day have hard cake. They just do. That's why they tend to give stuff away by closing time. Even Crumbs has a deal for lower prices at the end of the night- at least the one in Garden State Plaza.

I opened up my cake at 9p. I dug in. Oh. My. God. All I can say is thank God this place isn't in Bergen County. It was AMAZING. It was the softest, melt-in-your-mouth cake with what tasted like real, fresh whipped cream. It was better than pastries like it I've had at weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc, at catering halls. I poured my little cup of strawberries over it and it was like little bites of heaven. It was white cake layered with whipped cream and strawberries inside. But not too many strawberries inside. It was the perfect amount. Not too much cake and not too much whipped.

I really can't rave enough. I'm actually torn. I don't know if I could handle them up here but I want that cake. REALLY WANT. That's one thing we are definitely lacking. I don't care about anyone else's reviews. I'm a cake snob. And I haven't found any worthy of writing about since Pam. I've seen pretty, and I've had "just ok". Now I want to try everything this girl Erica makes. Although I'm a creature of habit and will most likely just bring home like five strawberry shortcakes. I wonder how long they stay like that for. Maybe I'll do a little test. Leave one in the fridge overnight and freeze one and defrost. See what happens. I've had people's cake made in the same day that wasn't as good as this one.

I would totally try the crepes though. We'll have to go for lunch. They make sweet & savory. They also have a whole bunch of other stuff. But I was so intent on what I was getting, taking pictures, and asking questions, I didn't even get to really pore over the whole menu. I have a feeling we may be foregoing "Crazies", the ice cream place we go to on our way home from Long Branch in the summer, for my new fave- Whipped Café. At least until I get it out of my system.

It looks like they have two sites so I'm going to put both out there and their Facebook page-