My Favorite things Recap

Monday, December 31, 2012

A few days ago, I got my package from my gift swap partner for the "Favorite Things Gift Swap!"

As AG and I unwrapped each of the goodies he kept saying things like "are you sure you didn't tell her what to get you?" because it was perfect for me. I looved the package! THANK YOU!

Here's what I got:

1.  Jet-Puffed Holiday Mallows (Kraft) - Marshmallows are one of my favorite treats too!  I always have a pack in the house, also I can't resist making roasted marshmallows whenever we build a fire.  S'mores are great, but really just the roasted marshmallow part is my thing.   I can't wait to roast these on the fire and see what happens to the green trees and red stars!

2.  Essie Snap Happy nail polish - What a great color!  I have a lot of nail polish already (I'm partial to Essie too), but luckily not this one yet.  I can't wait to try it out (when I'm over my current sparkle for the holidays week).

3.  Burt's Bees Refreshing Lip Balm with Pink Grapefruit - I always need some good lip balm, especially during cold dry northeast winters.  AND mmm grapefruit!

4.  Thank You notes - Can never have too many of these!  And I know who will be getting the first one ;)

5.  Fresh Balsam  Candle - ahh smells like winter

Here's what I gifted:

1.  You may recall my Misto obsession from this post, she got one of these.

2.  Catch Phrase - a great game to play to liven up any gathering.  I first played at a friend's BBQ and my family had a blast playing this between dinner and dessert at Thanksgiving this year.

3.  Some of my homemade Caramel Popcorn from this post.

I Shariously loved my gift and can't wait to participate again next year.

Caramel Popcorn (Recipe Monday)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Caramel covered popcorn has always been a holiday favorite of mine.  Last year I decided to look up a recipe (derived from to make and it turned out to be super easy!  Such was born my go-to holiday treat to gift or bring to  friends' holiday parties.

6 Quarts Plain (no butter) popped popcorn
1/2 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup Corn Syrup
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Kosher Salt


1.  Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees
2.  Melt butter over medium heat
3.  Add brown sugar and corn syrup mixing util the mixture boils
4.  Continue to boil 4 minutes without any stirring
5.  Remove from heat and add baking soda and vanilla - the mixture will start to puff up like the picture below.
Mixture after adding baking soda
6.  Toss mixture with popcorn and place in baking pan. Top with Kosher Salt for the "salted caramel effect."

Popcorn in pan
7.  Bake for 1 hour, tossing every 20 minutes.

This weekend, I decided to try something new - I melted white and dark chocolate and drizzled it lightly over the popcorn when it was out of the oven for a chocolate covered caramel covered popcorn.  The original recipe calls for twice the ratio of caramel to popcorn, but the general consensus is that the caramel covering is just the right amount! 

The final product!
Shariously delicious Caramel Popcorn!

Blueberry Cranberry Sauce (Recipe Monday)

Monday, December 10, 2012

The second of my Thanksgiving Recipes comes from all-recipes, but I wanted to share because this was definitely my kind of cranberry sauce! I kept saying that this dish "smells like fall." I love sweet and sour combinations and this recipe is exactly that.  Because it uses half as much sugar as regular cranberry sauce it comes out nice and tart.  I might even consider using less sugar because I really enjoy the tartness.  The recipe is below and the only change I made was that i didn't "mash" up the cranberries and blueberries as much as the original recipe calls for.

Blueberry Cranberry Sauce


1 Package fresh cranberries (12 oz)
1 c Water
1/2 c Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Ground Allspice
1 pint Fresh Blueberries


  1. Wash cranberries and remove any stems.
  2. Place cranberries, water and sugar in medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat, stir and simmer for about 10 minutes until cranberries burst.
  3. Mix-in cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and blueberries.
  4. Transfer to bowl, let cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Try this Shariously easy variation of your basic cranberry sauce.

Favorite Things Swap

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I recently found out about the My Favorite Things Swap sponsored by Christina Izlar.

Basically - you sign up to get partnered with someone else with whom you swap 2 "favorite thing" gifts totaling $25-$50.  I think it's a great idea so I signed up. 

If you want  to sign up too, email by Friday December 7, 2012 with the info: 

  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Blog / Twitter
  • Mailing Address

And for all the details, check out her Blog Christina Izlar

Mashed Sweet Potatoe (Recipe Monday)

Monday, December 3, 2012

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  As I promised, I will be sharing some of my Thanksgiving recipes with you starting now.  First up is my all-time favorite, Mashed Sweet Potatoes (sometimes referred to as Sweet Potato Casserole).  Starting about 10 years ago I tried to find the perfect recipe to use, but after never finding exactly what I wanted in a recipe I developed my own using things I like from a variety of others.  A traditional Sweet Potato Casserole has eggs which doesn't fit in with my prep the night before but cook the day of approach and most mashed recipes are just that, mashed sweet potatoes and not much to be added.

Mashed Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients (Serves 8-12): 

8 Sweet Potatoes
1/2 c Margarine
1/2 c Orange Juice (the secret ingredient)
1/2 c Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 c Marshmallows (optional)


  1. There are 2 ways to prepare the sweet potatoes, the quicker easier way and the slightly better tasting, less easy way. Here's how respectively:
    1. Place potatoes in large pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and then boil for 20-30 min until soft OR 
    2. Place potatoes on a baking sheet in oven set to 425 degrees and bake for 75 minutes.
  2. Remove skins from potatoes and place in large bowl.  If you boil the potatoes the skins will slid right off.
  3. Add margarine, OJ, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon to bowl with potatoes.
  4. Mash mixture with fork or masher
  5. Transfer mixture to baking pan and cook in oven at 350 degrees for 1 hr prior to serving.  
  6. Optional - with 15 minutes left in the oven add marshmallows to top of sweet potatoes (sometimes I put on half of the dish since some people don't like the marshmallows).  In the picture above, I also added a cornflake/brown sugar mixture for a crunchy topping.  This Thanksgiving it was just served straight up in a serving bowl like this:
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
If you enjoy sweet potatoes you Shariously have to try this recipe!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your tables be filled with mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, veggies with more butter than any other day of the year, apple crisp (or whatever your favorites are) and healthy family.

Have a wonderful day on Shariously my favorite holiday!

P.S. Check back soon for some the recipes of the above mentioned food.

Louis C.K Stand Up Tour

Monday, November 19, 2012

A few weeks ago AG and I got to see Louis C.K live!  The show was great and Louis is great.  We had such a fun time with the audience constantly cracking up.  One great aspect of his tour is they way he sells the tickets.  From

"Hi. I'm going on tour all over America, or at least some of it.
Tickets for this tour are available EXCLUSIVELY here on
Tickets are 45 dollars, every seat, every City.
That includes all taxes and fees.
You don't have to join anything and you don't have to hear from me again unless you want to.
 Just cheap tickets to see me do an all new bunch of jokes.
See you on the road, bitches." 

Also, you cannot scalp the tickets.  If any tickets are posted on other resale sites for more than face value, the tickets automatically get refunded.

Louis is known for always delivering new material on each of his tours and he did not disappoint. Except that he did repeat one of his jokes a week later as host of SNL.

Another plus of the show was that it was at the BEAUTIFUL New York City Center (NYCC).  I had only been to NYCC behind the scenes while working on a small project there, never in the actual theater.

 If you have a chance to see Louis C.K live - Shariously do it!

The Neighbors (TV Pick of the week)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I admit, upon first glance The Neighbors sounds like the same old cheesy aliens learning to live on earth, but I happen to think it is quite clever.  Plus, the last decent iteration was 3rd Rock from the Sun, went off the air more than 10 years ago and there is so many new things for aliens to learn about like Facebook and The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
Aliens & Humans (L to R)

Here are some things to note if you decide to start watching.

  • The Weavers aka the Humans, move in to a  New Jersey gated community. Aliens from Zabvron have inhabited the new development since it was built a decade ago - none of them had ever left or interacted with Humans. When one Alien family move outs, the Weavers buy the place and don't know what they are in for.
  • All the Aliens have names of famous athletes; the main alien family is made up of Dad Larry Bird, Mom Jackie Joyner Kersie and sons Dick Butkus and Reggie Jackson (the family member's ethnicity's don't match each other or their namesakes)
  • Larry Bird is the leader of the Zabvronians. 

One aspect I thoroughly enjoy is the ability for the Weaver's to portray a New Jersey family.

Shariously, just give it a chance.

Fashion Week (NY Fridays)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Recently, I went to my first REAL fashion show!

During New York Fashion week this year my cousin got tickets from a client to the Nina Skarra fashion show - it was a first for both and we had a great time!  Our first concern was what to wear - but a friend who frequents the shows gave me some good advice "the biggest mistake people make is trying too hard."  So, I opted to wear a sparkly shirt, black skinny jeans and silver wedges - and it worked just fine.  We had some celebrity spottings and got second row seats due to our VIP status.

I was looking forward to outrageous and crazy fashions that are treated more like art that you often see from famous designers, but the styles shown were relatively subdued.  Here are a few photos I snapped.

If you've never been to a fashion show I Shariously suggest you check one out if you get the chance.

Emily Owens MD (TV Pick of the Week)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Emily Owens MD is a teen-show grown up and, so far, I like it.  A cross between Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs.  The show seems fun, yet  I hope this positive review isn't premature since I've only seen two episodes so far.

Emily Owens (Mammie Gummer aka Meryl Streep's daughter) plays a recent med school graduate starting her internship at a hospital in Colorado.  Other characters include: the guy she has a crush on, her former HS nemesis, a famous surgeon the interns aspire to work with, the chief's daughter who's also a first year intern and a friendly resident.

Picture of the cast from
The show follows a typical situational format, new medical cases each week with a few story lines for the characters.  

Honestly, I'm skeptical that this show will last.  I really liked the last Mammie Gummer show Off the Map which only lasted a half season, but had a more interesting premise than this.  I don't see the audience other than females in their 20s, but I'll  Shariously enjoy it while it does.

Hurricane Sandy

Friday, November 2, 2012

I hope that everyone made it through Hurricane Sandy safely!   From around 9 pm on Monday night our apartment building started experiencing the storm surge with water in our backyard and basement.  Around 2:30am the flood waters short circuited our power supply and was shut off, we were officially in the dark (although we had power the longest of any our neighbors). Luckily, our front door and street is significantly higher than our backyard so we were able to leave our building without any problems.  This is something, as a civil engineer, I closely looked at before deciding whether or not we should stay (we were not under a mandatory evacuation).

Even though we had no power, we were able to get news from some live TV broadcasts (on our street corner), and friendly neighbors. Our close proximity to city hall also allowed us to see lots of the action. The first time we left Hoboken was Wednesday, 10/31. We had to walk about a mile to catch a ferry to the city where we went to my office where they did have power (and showers). By Wednesday morning the waters receded from our backyard and by Wednesday night the water in streets around us also receded.   Today, Friday, 11/2, we are still without power.

Starting Sunday night, 10/28 we went out to take some before pictures (by before I mean before the storm really hit) in Hoboken. Here are a series of pictures taken from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday night, enjoy:

Water level between Pier A and Lackawanna Plaza 10/28 5pm
Corner of Washington and Newark
Water level between Pier A and Lackawanna Plaza (high tide 11pm)
Start of flooding on Lackawanna Plaza
Around the corner from us (Tuesday 10/30 around 1pm)
Our swimming pool backyard (1 pm 10/30)
Gary Tuchman doing a report around the corner

How did you whether the bad weather?  Please share

Fashions Night Out (NY Fridays)

Friday, October 12, 2012

One of the great things about NYC is all the free stuff you can get.  Fashion's night out has got to have the most abundant "free stuff" of the year.  For the past four years, one of my wonderful friends has mapped out some excellent itineraries (mostly through SoHo, West Village and Meatpacking) to ensure our group of gals hits up some fun stores with no shortage of free stuff.

For those of you unfamiliar, Fashion's Night Out is a one night fashion event "From Manhattan to Milan, Atlanta to Australia.” The after-hours shopping extravaganza Fashion's Night Out celebrated its fourth glorious year. With stores in over 500 cities nationwide, FNO was bigger and better than ever before. (" 

As for the past few years, the FNO website lists many participating retailers and what they have to offer.  Here's a summary of some of the exciting, or not so exciting free stuff:
  • Drinks!  About 50% of participating stores give out free drinks.  Most have free champagne, but some partner with various liquor brands or new items r and serve up a signature cocktail or wine.  Two years ago Mango gave out a mixed drink in a cocktail shaker like cup with a straw.  A bunch of places partner up with new beverages like Izze or coconut water and distribute bottles of those. 
  • Cake (cup and other) - as you know cupcakes are all the rage. Last year Cole Haan gave out Baked by Melissa and this year Alice & Trixie handed out AMAZING cake pops.
Picture from
  • Pizza- this year we happened to walk by one store we were unfamiliar with in the West Village and unbeknownst to us they had catered in delicious brick oven pizza (I wish I remembered the name of the pizzeria)!  Definitely the best food of the night. 
  • Clothes - One year Alice by Temperly just started tossing clothes into the street.  I grabbed a night shirt and my friend a tank top. We both liked what each other got better and swapped.   
  • Photos - the last 2 years photo booths were big!  
  • Miscellaneous beauty items - dry shampoo, fake nails, fake eyelashes, hair feathers and nail polish just to name a few. 
  • Of course nearly every store has a "giveaway"' which is basically a way to sign up for their mailing list, but one friend received  $60 on any free item at C Wonder this year by finding a colored balloon they were handing out in SoHo.
Point being, if you like free stuff Shariously schedule some time at Fashion's Night Out next September!  What kind of stuff have you gotten at Fashions Night Out?

Emmy Thoughts confirmations (Entertainment Thursday)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

On page 24 of the October 5, 2012 issue of Entertainment Weekly (EW), in an article titled "Best and Worst of the Awards [Emmy's]," by Lynette Rice which I read only a day after my second Emmy post it says:
WORST FASHION TREND Sure, they looked great.  But Amy Poehler, Kat Dennings, Christina Hendricks, Morena Baccarin and Zooey Deschanel: Your revealing gowns had us feeling like icky lechers.
You may recall (or you can read) about how there was too much boob from Amy and Zooey and Kat looked like their dresses are falling off.

Shariously glad I'm not alone on this one.

Emmy Thoughts (Part 2)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Here's my continuation (although a little delayed) of my thought's on this years Emmy's. Part 1 Here
  • Dresses I really liked- Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Tracy Morgan, Hayden Panettiere, Ashley Judd, Emily Vancamp, Padma Lakshmi, Sarah Hyland
  • Dresses I really didn't like - Edie Falco, Martha Plimpton, Juliana Margulies, Claire Danes (I know your preggo but I'm sure there could have been something better), Lucy Liu, Ginnifer Goodwin
  • What’s with all the dresses that look like they are falling off? (I'm talking to you Zooey, Tina and one of the 2 Broke Girls).
  • Jimmy Kimmel is just OK--maybe the expectations weren't too high with him so people won’t complain as much?
  • Yay Homeland! I've already told you how great this show is here. So glad for the writers, Damian Lewis and Claire Danes! Sweep!
  • I have yet to write about Louie - but so glad Louis CK won twice and I can't wait to see him live in less than 1 month and be sure to review that show for my readers.
  • 10 consecutive years for the Daily Show! Must be a record!!
  • I very rarely watch TV movies or mini series - def most boring part of the awards ceremony. At least Tom Hanks did the talking on best TV movie and kept it short.
  • As much as I love both Modern Family and Homeland I wish there were a little more variety.
Shariously - what did you think of this year's Emmy's?

Emmy Thoughts (Part 1)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A little late I know, but as I watched the Emmy’s I recorded my thoughts to share with  you all.

Emmy thoughts as chronicled while watching:
  • Amy Poehler's boobs looked a little uneven – PS I was more upset to hear about her divorce from Will Arnett than any other Hollywood separation in long time – I guess it was just too much funny in one couple.
  • I love Modern Family  and once ran into Jesse Tyler Ferguson on the subway, here's my story about that:
    • In December of 2005 I saw Jesse in Putnam County Spelling Bee  on Broadway in which he originated the role of Leaf Honeycomb.  The following summer I started to see commercials for a new show on CBS The Class  where Jesse was to play one of the main characters.  Simply because I had seen him in Spelling Bee I watched the first few episodes--it wasn't great (probably why it didn't get renewed for a second season).  That same fall, I was on my way home from the Gotham Comedy Club  when I spotted him in the 23rd Street 1-Train station with some friends.  I “just happened” to get on the same car with him and worked up the courage to ask him if “he was in The Class” and then proceeded to tell him that I had seen him in Spelling Bee and really enjoyed his performance in it.  He said “Thank you.”  Most of the time when I see celebs I would never go up to them in NYC, but I kind of felt since he was an up and comer he might appreciate being recognized as a Bway star.
    • Come to think of it, I don’t see celebs that often, but I also once had a Sophia Vergara sighting.  I think only 1 or 2 episodes of Modern Family had aired when a coworker and I were leaving a meeting and saw her walk by with some security.   My coworker and I didn’t know her name but we recognized her and after a few moments realized she was on “that new show Modern Family and is married to Al Bundy.” Oh how things change.
  • More Modern Family, I love the show but they won everything last year. Can't they give some others a chance? Julie Bowen's dress is great! Bright colors are big this year. But a little too much spray tan.What’s with all the dresses that look like they are falling off? (I'm talking to you Zoey, Tina and one of the 2 Broke Girls).
  • Last year I said "this is the Modern Family awards" then Ellen (last year’s host) made the same joke just moments later - maybe I should switch careers and become a comedy writer.
Stay tuned for Part 2...

Delaware River Tubing (Weekend Activities)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

For Labor Day weekend, AG and I didn’t have any big plans to get away, but we wanted to get out of the city and do something outdoorsy.  A few years back, we went tubing on the Delaware with Delaware River Tubing.  We planned to go again with the same company which offers an approximately 3-4 hour trip down the Delaware for $35 per person and a $7 fee for parking.  It includes a stop in the middle for “The Hot Dog Man” who offers tubers a free soggy hot dog and drink with other food available to purchase.  A co-worker/friend mentioned that she had been tubing nearby the college we both attended for a much cheaper price.

Taking her advice, our group of 8 ended up at Lazy RiverOutpost where for $15 per person we got a raft and a ride 2 miles upriver.  The river was barely moving so it took about 2 hours to float back to the starting point. We had a great time just hanging out floating down the river.  The water and weather were pretty warm, and it’s easy enough to get out of the tube for a bit and swim around if you want, just make sure someone else hangs on to your tube. Halfway through the trip there is an island where you can stop, walk around and have lunch.  Unfortunately, it’s at the same location where the water really starts to pick up and have some rapids, so not our entire group was able to make it over and we skipped exploring the island.  The tubing company even offers to bring you back up to the river entry again if you want more time on the river, but our group had spent just the right amount of time on water and was ready for a good meal. 

It was a great day spent outside and I Shariously recommend the day trip to anyone looking to relax on the water.

Site Improvements

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Please bear with me as my site goes through some updates.
When I first started this blog, I didn't put much time and effort into the design of the site, but I finally started to buckle down and make some changes.  Please leave me any feedback you might have as I am primarily viewing the page with Chrome from a PC and am doing my best to make it easy to read and follow.  More design changes may be coming in the near future so I'd love to hear your comments or suggestions you have!

Shariously Yours,

White Pants after Labor Day?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

Banana Republic, Martin Fit
I have a super awesome pair of white slacks, they look so great on me - I wish I had a picture of me in them to share (I think the picture to the right is about right). 

The story of the pants:  Two years ago in September I was Outlet shopping.  I stopped into Banana and picked up a bunch of items to try on.  Before getting on line for the fitting rooms I browsed the clearance rack for any petite pants in my size, (any kind of slacks would do since I need lots for work) when I saw them, perfectly sized pair of white pants.  When I looked at the price tag I was amazed! $14.99! There was no way these would fit me, something had to be wrong.  Low and behold, they fit great and didn't need to be shortened.  The only bad news - it was already after Labor Day so I had to hold off wearing them until Memorial Day.

All that winter I anticipated wearing of the slacks. For the past two summers, I have been happily wearing the pants, but only at very particular times, I'm sure you can relate:  I can only wear them when it hasn't rained for at least a day, a day I won't have to go to any construction sites and there absolutely cannot be any rain in the forecast for the entire day.  I had a bad experience while wearing a pair of pink H&M linen pants one summer.  It started pouring, and I was walking around Chinatown only to discover the entire back of my legs had been splattered with spots of dirty blackness.  The pants were never the same, but luckily they weren't quite as amazing as my current white pair, although they probably were around the same price.

This past week I wore my white pants for the last time this year, unless I break the first rule of fashion.  What do you think?  Do you wear white after Labor Day?  Do you have any great items of clothes that you are picky about when you can wear them and that you Shariously love?

Trip to Maine (Vacation Recap Part 3)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Catch up on the beginning and middle of our vacation in Part 1 and Part 2.

For the last two days of our trip, we decided to move off the lake and out to some Maine towns.  The first stop was Freeport, a town well known for its outlet shopping and L.L. Bean headquarters.  We spent a little time shopping and decided we would really rather be doing something else on a beautiful day in Maine.  So, we walked around town, stopped at Azure CafĂ© for a delicious lunch, had some fun at LL Bean and topped it off with Ben & Jerry before heading to our next destination. 
"Ow, don't kick me" Outside L.L Bean

Back in the car, we figured if we were in Freeport, there must be a port somewhere.  We started driving towards the water not really knowing what we would find.  Luckily, there was a cute marina to be found.  Pretty much, it was just a restaurant and lots of boat spaces, but it was a nice spot to take some pics and watch the water.

We had plans to meet friends for dinner in Portland that evening, but wanted to get there early so we could walk around and explore.  Portland was great!  It is filled with cute shops, some were touristy but a lot were small boutiques, bars, restaurants and specialty stores.  For dinner we went to Portland Lobster Co., a great spot right on the pier in Portland.  They had live music, great food & beer and our friends were able to bring their dog along.  We quickly learned that Portland is very dog friendly – everyone brings their pets out and all the shops give out treats.  Our last stop of the night was another local bar where we sat outside and enjoyed the nice weather.
Marina in Freeport

Heading home on our final day, we decided to stop at Kennebunkport.  Similar to the day before, we did a lot of walking around and checked out the local shops before stopping for lunch.  We weren’t quite ready to head home, but knew our vacation had to end.

Aside from the traffic, I’m Shariously glad we decided to vacation in Maine this summer.

TV Pick of the Week: Bunheads (TV Thursday)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Growing up, I remember that from May to September I had the choice of watching reruns of all the TV shows from the year or nothing at all. Not that I minded watching Seinfeld or Friends reruns.  But in the last six years (according to a CNN article I read) the "Summer Series" seems to have gotten more and more popular.  The pro of these series is that there is something to watch in the summer, but the con is that the seasons are usually short! Eight to 15 episodes is not enough when you’re just getting into a great new show.  Some networks bring the shows back in the winter, but other times you have to wait a whole year!

This summer, I watched the entire season of Bunheads (ABC Family). To summarize, this show starts out with a down-on-her luck, washed-up but never quite made it dancer, Michelle, who is working as a Vegas showgirl.  Michelle (Sutton Foster) is pursued consistently by Hubbell (Alan Ruck).  Michelle finally gives in, lets him take her out and with the help of some alcohol, they get married in a shot-gun Vegas wedding.  Shortly after arriving in Paradise, his hometown, Hubbell dies in a car crash.  Michelle ends up inheriting everything; the house which her Mother-in-law lives in, the dance studio that her MIL teaches at and a huge piece of property with a guest house that Michelle moves into.  Not far into the season, Michelle and Fanny (Kelly Bishop, Hubbell's Mother) develop an interesting rapport with quick witty banter.  Sometimes Michelle’s quirkiness goes on a little too long, but I can overlook it.
Cast of Bunheads
Back Row (l to r): Melanie, Fanny, Michelle, Sasha
Front (l to r): Boo, Jenny
Photo Credit:
The other central characters are four of Miss Fanny's ballet students: Sasha, Boo, Melanie and Jenny. Sasha is the talk, skinny and “best” ballerina, Boo is the technically excellent but a little too large ballerina, and Melanie and Jenny round out the foursome.  Over time Michelle becomes sort of a mentor/counselor type of figure to them.  I was glad that the writers added more of the girls' lives into the show as the season progressed.

At first I was a little skeptical, but eventually I really started to enjoy the series for its summertime lightness.  The dialogue is reminiscent of Amy Sherman Palladino's writing for Gilmore Girls. You will notice a lot of subtle similarities between them and it’s nice to see Kelly Bishop in a more likable role; although it will never be GG.

If you like typical ABC Family shows, Gilmore Girls or maybe if you used to do ballet, I would Shariously recommend Bunheads, (assuming it comes back on the air).

Trip to Maine (Vacation Recap Part 2)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

We last left off in Part 1 when we arrived at the apartment.  Turns out this apartment, was originally built as an in-law suite above the garage of the proprietors who live in the house next door.  When the husband's mother passed away a few years ago, the couple began renting it out.  Overall, the apartment was great!  It was a 1-bedroom with a full kitchen, living room, breakfast nook, washer/dryer and deck with a grill, hammock and fire pit.  The unit was a few hundred feet from Sebago Cove where they had a row boat and canoe for our use.  After checking in, we went to Walmart for some groceries so we could save money on breakfast, lunch and one dinner.  Also, turned out that the homeowner's association was having a "drive-in movie" and all the local vacationing kids drove their golf carts down to the lake's beach area where a movie screen was set up and popcorn was popping in the nearby pavilion. It felt like camp!

On our way back we stopped for some ice cream, because what's a vacation without nightly ice cream from the local spot.  We also got to walk around the town of Naples which had a few restaurants, shops and mini-golf.

For our first full day in Maine we slept in, made breakfast and enjoyed the fresh air!  We went down to the lake to make use of the rowboat, only to discover we really didn't know how to operate the rowboat - especially when it came to navigating it through 10-15 other pontoon boats docked.  We put the boat back and tried again with the canoe.  We were much more successful with the canoe.  We paddled almost all the way to the far end of the lake and back.  Back on land we went for a swim and enjoyed the "beach" area.

After lunch we drove over to the locks where boats pass from one lake to another (someone remind me to tell my funny "locks" story sometime).  What was cool about these locks were they were operated completely manually - looked like a summer college intern.
Boats waiting for the water to rise at the locks
Later, back in town we took a ride on the Songo River Queen II, where we got a narrated tour of Long Lake (a long lake connected to the Big Sebago).  For dinner we ventured north to the next town and then stopped for ice cream, of course.
View of town of Naples from River Queen
Our second day on the lake was spent at Sebago State park which has a beach.  We lounged around early in the day and bought some tubes to use on the lake. The rest of the afternoon was spent back on the canoe, grilling  up some dogs and mini-golf in town. We switched things up a bit and our dessert was s'mores by the campfire instead of the ice cream.
View from Beach at Sebago State Park
Stay tuned for Part 3 as I conclude the Maine recap.

Trip to Maine (Vacation Recap Part 1)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

After a late spring early summer with weekends that were so jam packed with bridal showers, bachelorette parties, weddings, baby showers and other scheduled activities my fiancĂ© (herein referred to as AG) and I booked a vacation!  We hadn't taken more than a long weekend since our cruise last October so a 5-day trip was much needed.  With the weather in NY being unbearably hot this summer I needed something cooler, something to the north.  AG and I always talk about trips to Maine we had taken with our families when we were younger, but never made the trip up together.   I looked up a bunch of hotels in southern Maine and quickly realized that Maine in August is a hot destination and lacking any good hotel deals.  I'd long been wanting to try Homeaway and this was the perfect opportunity.  A quick Homeaway search turned up a bunch of places to stay at the same price or less than staying at a hotel.  After saving some "favorites," we reviewed and settled on a 1-bedroom apartment near Lake Sebago.

We headed up on a Friday night with reservations outside of Boston - we left late enough and avoided the masses of other folks leaving for the weekend and didn't hit much traffic, and did make one stop at Friendly's for the bathroom and a sundae.  We got a late start on Saturday morning; hey it was vacation, so we wanted to sleep in a little. We didn't drive far before realizing that everyone on the eastern seaboard also thought Maine would be a great August vacation.  Traffic was slow moving on I-95 so we figured we'd take a scenic detour and spend the time seeing something other than the back of the same car for 100 miles.

We ended up on US-1 driving right along the east coast of Mass and NH.  We discovered the odd town of Hampton, NH which I'd never heard of and had a mixture of Jersey Shore and a North Carolina feel - not at all what I would have expected.
View from car of Hampton, NH
After the detour, we were back on I-95 and still slowly making our way into Maine and getting hungry (it had been a few hours since our breakfast stop at IHOP). Our first Maine stop - Ogunquit, a quintessential Maine town.  There's lobster on the water, sailboats in harbor and plenty of souvenir, candy and antique shops to satisfy the typical tourist.  We walked around, had dinner at the well-known Barnacle Billy's for our first lobster of the trip.
First lobster of the vacation

View of Ogunquit harbor

After some time in Ogunquit, we headed to find our home for the next few days in Naples, ME. Stay tuned for Vacation Recap Part 2 and 3 to hear about our lake adventures and Maine attractions.

Roomba (Want It Wednesday)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

You know what I want, and absolutely don't need - well, it's obvious from the post title, a Roomba.  Having a little Roomba would be the opposite of having a pet, it follows you around but picks up after itself.  About once a month I see Roomba on Woot and always am on the brink of buying it, but decide I really don't need it.  But this post is "Want it" not "Need it" so I can dream, warranted or not.   For those of you reading who don't know me, I have A LOT of hair.  It's not that it's particularly long, but I just have a lot of it.  Consequently it's all over the place all the time.  Once a week I run around the apartment with the Dustbuster and can swear I collect about an entire head of hair off the floor and still manage to have a full head of hair on my head.  Maybe the Roomba would help keep the place tidy.

Also, if you don't know about Woot, check it out - a deal a day type of site, the best one out there for electronics/home goods type of things.  Other than Woot, RueLaLa would be my favorite! I have scored some of my favorite pairs of shoes clothes and accessories from it.  And if you're not a member I am more than happy to refer you, since it would also score me some credit.

I got off topic - but if anyone has a Roomba, can you please let me know how you like it.  The woot deals usually sell refurbished versions for about half off - is it worth it?  Do they last long?  Does the novelty wear off quickly or do you use it often? Shariously let me know about the Roomba!  Thanks.

Homeland (TV Pick of the Week)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

During the summer, I have about half as many shows that I watch on TV, so I'm always looking for some TV entertainment.  Two months ago when we set up Fios for our new apartment, there was a promotion that included free Showtime.  Shortly after all the regular season shows went off the air,  my fiance and I were having one of those days where we have 200+ channels but there was nothing on TV, so we settled on Homeland (on Showtime).  It was about halfway through the 11th of 12 episodes in season 1, it seemed good and intriguing, but we were lost.

Flash forward to a week ago, we managed to catch the second half of the 2nd episode.  Now were were really intrigued.  Luckily with Showtime, comes Showtime On-Demand.  So we started from the beginning of the season and became addicted!  This show is amazing!  Last weekend we found ourselves caught up in a marathon, we watched about 5 or 6 episodes.  When I found out there were only 12 to watch and the new season doesn't start until September 30, I felt the urge to start pacing ourselves so that we didn't have to go through a 2 month withdrawal.  Now we're back at that 11th episode, so hopefully it'll make some sense when we re-watch.

There are so many twists and turns in this show and I definitely don't want to give anything away, so here's my quick summary which probably doesn't do the show any justice:
Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is a crazy and crazy smart CIA agent trying to stop terrorism.  Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) is her mentor and colleague. The series starts with the return of Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) to the USA and his family.    Brody was a Prisoner of War for 8 years, was assumed dead and was finally discovered by American Troops.  All three of them have their issues.  The audience quickly finds out that while in Baghdad, Carrie learns "a prisoner of war has been turned." Is it Brody? You will have to watch and see how the story unfolds. 

Brody (Lewis), Carrie (Danes)  and Saul (Patikin) Main Characters L to R,
I Shariously can't expres enough how great this show is.  Also to come - some of the other showtime series' that I've discovered!

Bachelorette Party #2

Saturday, July 28, 2012

This summer I have quite a few weddings and wedding related activities (bridal showers, bachelorette parties). I have helped with the planning of a few Bachelorette Parties over the past few years, and it's a tough task.  You want the night to be fun for the bride, to be her taste, and for all the attendees to bond and have a good time as well.  I figure a lot of other ladies out there might be looking for good ideas - and maybe turn to the google for a fun itinerary.

Here's another awesome Bachelorette party I attended this summer:
Through the East Wind Inn on Long Island my friends, the bridesmaids, booked an amazing wine tasting, bachelorette party weekend for our friend!

Hotel: Our group arrived at the hotel around 10 am and was able to check in.  We were very pleasantly surprised by the rooms, pretty, spacious and nicely decorated.  The grounds which we walked around later on in the day were beautiful too!

Hotel Grounds
Macari Vineyard and me practicing some photography
Wine Tasting: Shortly after arriving at the hotel, there was a shuttle ready for us to take us to 3 wineries.  At each winery a flight of wines to taste was included in the package.  We also had picked up some cheese and crackers earlier in the morning and most of the wineries let you bring food along with you to picnic, in addition have assortments of cheese crackers and other snacks available for purchase.  They also had a pretty substantial lunch of wrap, water, chips and candy bar.  We lucked out with some beautiful weather and a great day of wine tasting.

Happy Hour:  Since we had a bit of time between getting back from the wineries and our dinner reservations, we decided to make use of the free "pitcher of mojitos" that was also included in the pacakge.  We sat on an outside patio for some relaxing time.

Dinner: Also included in the packages was a 3-course dinner in the hotel's restaurant.

Post Dinner: Even though we had been drinking all day, we knew the bride needed some nighttime out fun. Our DD drove us to an awesome lounge in Southampton.  Because it was before "the season" we got some great special attention and had a great night out followed by a good night sleep.

Breakfast/Brunch: Starting out day two, the package included a brunch buffet at the hotel.  There was enough food at this brunch to keep you full for the week!  In addition to traditional breakfast/brunch food (bagels, pastries, make your own omelet, waffles and yogurt) was a huge selection of lunch items (pasta stations, cold cuts) and a huge dessert display (mmmmm).  My only complaint was the weak coffee.

Spa: The last, but certainly not least perk of the package was that it included a $50 credit towards any spa service!  The spa was really nice, included a nice locker room with sauna and steam room as well as a nice relaxing waiting lounge.  I opted for a sea salt scrub, figured I'd try something different since I had the credit.  Everyone was very friendly and professional and the spa was a great treat!

Lunch/More Wine: We ended our North Fork weekend with one more tasting room, at Comtesse Therese before having to drive back home and face reality.  Here are some pics I snapped trying to be artsy.

Outside Comtesse Therese
Inside Comtesse Therese
All in all, a Shariously great way to spend a bachelorette party weekend!

Low-Cal Peach Bellini (Recipe Monday)

Monday, July 16, 2012

I drink a lot of Crystal Light and similar types of drink mixes, so when Crystal Light recently came out with a new line of Mocktail Mixes and there was a great sale in the grocery store I decided to buy the "Peach Bellini" flavor.  I mixed the pouch with some water and decided the new flavor was OK, a little too sweet, but had a nice taste, but thought it would be better as a real cocktail.

Recently I decided to make this mocktail, into a cocktail and here's how I did it:

1 Packet Peach Bellini Crystal Light (2 Qts)
1 Quart Seltzer
5 Cups Water (the extra cup of water is lessen the sweetness when combined w/ Schnapps)
1/2 Cup Peach Schnapps
1/2 Cup Vodka (a fruity flavor like raspberry goes nice)

Mix it all together pour over ice.

It comes out as a very yummy summer drink and since the mix is only 5 calories per serving, each serving is really only 1 shot worth of alcohol's cals + 5.  And of course if you like a stronger drink - just up the liquor.

Anyone else have "skinny" cocktail recipes that are Shariously delicious?

Royal Pains (TV Pick of the Week)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I love Royal Pains!

If you're not familiar with the show, it's about Hank (Mark Feuerstein) a former hot shot doc in NYC who got fired from his hospital for treating a young patient with a good chance of survival rather than an old rich guy who paid for the very hospital he was working in.  His younger, wacky, brother Evan (Paulo Costanzo) takes him to the Hamptons where Hank ends up saving the life of a party goer at a function they are attending.  Consequently HankMed is born; a concierge doctor company that treats the uber-rich and throws in some pro-bono work on the side.

The show is half a weekly situational where every week there is a patient or two with some mysterious sickness or disorder that has to either be figured out or emergency saved and half comedy series.  Most of the series characters are fun to watch and Hank is the McGuyver of medicine. Other than Hank and Evan some of the characters include:

Divya Katdare (Reshma Shetty) - an Indian Physician's Assistant who works with HankMed and also called off her arranged marriage because she wants to find true love.
Eddie Lawson (Henry Winkler) - Hank and Evan's formerly estranged, but now everything seems OK, father.
Jill Casey - First a love interest, then friend, then friend with benefits to Hank, has recently left the Hamptons to work in Africa.
Borris - Super rich guy who took Hank and Evan in to live in his guest house which is still bigger than most people's regular house.
Mrs. Newman - A Hamptons resident who is a reoccurring patient of HankMed and is now dating Eddie.  She's hilariuos and I particularly love the episode where she threw a giant "Bark-Mitzvah" for her dog's 13th Birthday.

Jill, Evan, Hank, Divya (L to R)
Photo Credit:

Shariously tune in to USA Wednesday nights at 9pm. 

Gazpacho (Recipe Monday)

Monday, June 25, 2012

I love Gazpacho!  This is such a great summertime soup and an easy way to get your daily serving of veggies. When I make a batch we eat it instead of salad with our dinner for the week.

Makes 8 Servings

Veggie Ingredients 
3 Beefsteak Tomatoes
1 Kirby Cucumber
1/2 Green Pepper
1/2 Red Pepper
1/2 Red Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Cup Tomato Juice
1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Depending on how chunky you like your soup there's two options on how to prepare:
Chunky Version: Using a chopper (I use the Cuisinart SmartStick Hand Blender chopper attachment), chop each of the veggies individually and put into a large bowl. Mix with tomato juice, vinegar and olive oil.

Smoother Version: Combine all ingrediants and puree with Hand Blender or in batches in the regular blender.
The finished product - Chunky Version

If your ingredients were all taken from the fridge, the soup is ready to serve!  Otherwise refrigerate for about an hour to chill.  And as Samuel L. Jackson says, don't leave it out too long, unless you want Hot-Zpacho.

Try it out and let me know in the comments section if you like it in the comments section, Shariously!

Broadway Review: Once (Entertainment Thursday)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Last week I saw Once on Broadway.  What I really liked about the show, other than the great songs and voices was it's uniqueness. I love a fun upbeat stereotypical musical, a big production, one with fun songs, comedy, great costumes, beautiful set and excellent choreography.  Once is not like that; and it's certainly not a typical Broadway musical.
Photo Credit: #Once Instagram

Although it had some comic relief, Once was more of a romantic musical.  The story is simple; an Irish man about to give up on his dream to be a musician and a Czech  woman who encourages him to pursue it and revives his dream.  I won't put any spoilers in here.  What is remarkable about the Broadway production, is that there is no orchestra, differentiating it from a typical show.  All the music is played by actors on stage!  Everyone from the main characters to the ensemble can be seen playing an instrument: the guitar, piano, violin, cello, drums maybe others too.  The casting for the show must be tough!  Because the actors play instruments, dancing in the show is limited - pretty hard to be dancing a jig while playing the cello right? But this also provides some pretty clever choreography.

The music and singing in Once is also incredible.  You may have heard a song or two on the radio; falling slowly won an Oscar for Best Song in 2008.  I usually have a hard time getting into music I haven't heard before - but all the songs in the show really captured my attention.

While I wouldn't say this is my favorite Broadway Show (Jersey Boys is), it is Shariously a show worth seeing!  I can guarantee there isn't another show out there like this.

Bachelorette Party #1 (Weekend Activities)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This summer I have quite a few weddings and wedding related activities (bridal showers, bachelorette parties). I have helped with the planning of a few Bachelorette Parties over the past few years, and it's a tough task.  You want the night to be fun for the bride, to be her taste, and for all the attendees to bond and have a good time as well.  I figure a lot of other ladies out there might be looking for good ideas - and maybe turn to the google for a fun itinerary (I did). The first of Bachelorette party of the summer was a few weeks ago.  It was a great time had by all, so I'll share.  Here's what we did:

1. Red Door Spa - The Red Door Spa is a great day spa with a beautiful atmosphere.  When the bachelorette party arrived at the spa, we got to change into nice comfy robes and then started out with a delicious spa lunch (catered from Fig & Olive!mmm) .  We all got 3 services included in our package.  I started out with the 25-minute massage; one of the best massages I've ever had (not that I've had too many), I just wish it was much longer.  The second service was a manicure where all the girls got to site together and chat while we were having our nails done.  Since we had some extra time before our next activity we got to spend  plenty of time  making use of some of the relaxation areas and sipping lemon water or tea.  Finally, changed, did our hair and got ready for a night out before getting a "makeup refresher" which really was a full on makeup application.  Frankly a little more makeup than I ever wear or really want to, but fun for a night out.
What colorful nails!

Before and After makeup application
2. Wine Bar - Our second stop was a nearby wine bar (Vero) where for a set price, we arranged to have 2 hours of all-you-can drink wine and sangria along with a few platters of delicious hors d'oeuvres.  This was a great way for the bride and her friends to bond and get to know each other.

3. Drag Show - Per the bride's request, we did something most of the bridesmaids had never done before.  We went to a drag show dinner - Lips NYC.  Although it provided some entertainment and the bride enjoyed herself, it's probably not something I would do again.  Most of us felt that it was grossly overpriced and we were required to order a mediocre meal.  The Drag Queen's did a few numbers, some of which were better than others.  They also called everyone celebrating birthday's and weddings on stage to give the element of "embarrassment" that is always fun to get into a bachelorette party.

4. Local Bar - Our final stop of the night was a local bar where we had a chance to wind down, play some cards and just hang out with each other.

Overall, it was a great day/night and if you are looking to plan a bachelorette party itinerary this Shariously proved to be a good option for a night in the city.  Another tip - for this party we arranged for all the events to have set prices so that we could have everyone pre-pay (including all tips and tax) and therefore don't have to be figuring out the bill every step of the way.  Good luck and let me know if you have any other Bachelorette party planning or tips.