Tag Archives: travel

I was Skiing.

It doesn’t have the same nostalgic appeal as “My dog ate my homework” but I haven’t been a five-post-a-week blogger lately.  Mr. FSL and I have been off skiing last week and the week before that.  FSL’s post count has been suffering.

My mother actually looked at me last night with this sad look on her face and said quietly, “You haven’t been blogging lately…” Her voice sounded soft with a hint of disappointment.

“But I was skiing!”

She looked at me as if this was no kind of excuse and changed the subject.

Just for her, this week I’ll try to make it a five post week… unless it snows.  I said I’ll try.

We went skiing in Killington, VT this past weekend.  We always go to the same place because all of our ski buddies have houses up in the area.  It’s really nice when you can go with a group of familiar faces.    Mr. FSL has been skiing since he was younger.  He’s an unbelievably talented athlete.  In every sport he tries, he’s good.  He’s easily one of the best skiers on the mountain at Killington.  He’s definitely the best skier I’ve ever seen in person.  Technically sound, style for miles, the boy is good.

Some mountain resorts have “sharpshooter” photographers stationed in certain areas.  It’s nice because you can go online and see what you actually look like when you’re skiing or snowboarding.

Here’s Mr. FSL flexing his ski muscle.

See, I told you he has skills.

The problem with the sharpshooter photographs is you can actually see what you look like when you’re skiing!  LOL!   I’m not going to lie, I FEEL very cool when I ski.  Not cool as in temperature.  I mean, like SWAG-TASTIC x-games wannabe.  Naturally I was so excited when my husband told me there were some sweet pics of us on the website! Until…

**scratches head**

A) Something suddenly went wrong with their camera lens

B) There’s some amateur wearing the same EXACT outfit as me

C) I don’t look as cool as I feel.

See…they need to check their equipment 😉

I’ve got to look on the bright side.  I’ve gone from tumbling down the bunny slopes to skiing black diamonds without batting an eyelash.  I learned from & married a really cute ski instructor 😉

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What do you do that makes you feel really cool?  Did you ever get surprised by how cool or un-cool you actually look doing that?  I want some funny stories!  Lurkers, DE-LURK!  Life and blogs are much more fun when it’s a conversation 🙂

Lots of  Hugs & (Eskimo)Kisses!

xo

Mindy

2012 Goals

I don’t like to make New Years Resolutions.  I like to make goals.  Resolutions are so definite.  Goals are something to shoot for. Mainly these  goals that are listed are from my bucket list (click the link below the blog banner to see that).

Hopefully this year, the bucket list will have lots more items crossed off!!

I broke mine down into categories because I’m cuckoo.

TRAVEL

* Go To Europe

* Ski out west again

Utah Trip 2011

WORK

* Create a new visual arts curriculum

* Teach a graphic design unit in my 7/8 portfolio class

* Start my master’s degree

* Sell my FSL Boutique accessories in a local shop

HOUSE

*Create “social zones”  in our living room

*New vanity in master bath and downstairs bath

* Get or make a kitchen island

*Repaint kitchen & bathrooms

HEALTH

*Be able to ski a mountain without stopping at all and not have my legs burn

* Switch primary care physician

*Walk on the beach with little to no jiggle *fingers crossed*

*Take a vitamin supplement every day

BLOG

* Switch to self hosted site

* Make my home page more visually appealing

A few of these goals are already in the works.  I have an appointment today for a physical wellness visit with my new doctor (it’s  Mr. FSL’s doc too), I’ve been taking vitamins every day since January 1st, and our ski trip is booked for February break.

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What are your goals for 2012?

Do you have any suggestions to help me reach any of my goals?

My Favorite Gifts 2011

I know Christmas isn’t about the gifts, but I scored some pretty sweet stuff this year!

Here are my top 10 gifts that I found under my tree!

10: Diamond cross bracelet because sparkles always fit.

9: Ugg moccasins. They look & feel like slippers, but have a rubber sole like “real shoes”.  Plus, they don’t get funky if you don’t wear socks. I haven’t taken them off!!!  I swear, I even accidentally wore them to the gym!

8: This hoodie from PINK by Victoria’s Secret.  Fab cozies are a must.

7:  New ski pants

via Altrec.com

6: Eye cream and serum from Arbonne.  Smells fantastic, costs too much for me to  splurge on, makes my skin look & feel like a million bucks.

via A Case Of Beauty

5:  A lift ticket for Mount Killington

4: Milk Bar Cookbook!!  Be prepared for those fatkid posts!  (the creator of the Compost Cookie recipe wrote the book!)

3: Black-out curtain liners.  Weird gift? Yes. Not waking up at whatever time the sun does, wonderful.

2: A Kindle!!  I’m super excited about this one because I’ll be doing a ton of traveling in 2012, so this was a perfect gift for those long plane rides and my over-stuffed carry-on bag.

via Amazon.com

1: Slick new Rossignol bindings that match my skis that I got for my birthday!!

Rocco’s stocking was stuffed to the max!  He ripped his stuffed toys to shreds within 3 seconds of my giving them to him! But, he loved all of his treats and toys.

What were your favorite gifts?

The Night I Met Anthony Bourdain

*sigh*

It’s no secret that Anthony Bourdain is my personal hero.  The guy has the best gig going.  He’s paid to travel all over the world, eat and sight see like the locals do, bypassing the tourist traps and cutting straight to the good stuff.  He’s the host of No Reservations.

Oh yeah, he’s a pretty cool guy too.  He’s not just a man who gets paid to have this amazing job.  He’s paid his dues.  He was a chef in NYC for years, he’s written books that made the Best Seller lists, he hangs with celebrities like Christpher Walken and Bill Murray, he’s not afraid to speak his mind, drop the occasional F*bomb, and unapologetically drinks on camera. He’s hit rock bottom and came back with a vengeance (who doesn’t love an underdog?!).  So yeah, like I said, he’s pretty darn cool.

I have seen him on his tour last year.  Click here to hear all about how rocking that was.   The link will send you to my review of his show and how Bourdain is breaking boundaries between the elitist foodie crowd and local street vendors as to what constitutes great food.  More specifically, how food brings people together, surpassing the language barrier and social status.

IMG via Tastydays.com

A month ago, my mom surprised me with tickets to his latest tour.  The day of the show, she called me with news that she bought the wrong tickets.  My heart sank!  I’ve been looking forward to the show.  She told me she accidentally bought VIP tickets and we would be sitting in the 5th row & get to attend the “Meet & Greet” book signing after party.    I immediately freak out when I hear the news!

The next day came, and I scooped my mom up from work early so we can make our 5:30 reservations at a local restaurant.

That’s my mom digging into her apple crisp dessert.  I had the chocolate pate.

It tasted better than it looked!

We went to the pre-show wine tasting.  Man!  This guy knows how to throw a party!  We tried a fresh prosecco and a dry merlot.  Really nice.

We made our way all the way down to our seats.  I am clearly very excited about our up close and personal seats!

The theater was beautiful.  Here’s a shot of the elaborate ceiling.

The show was great. Bourdain had some really crazy video clips he shared with the audience about the not-so-glamorous side of his job.  Food poisoning, a certain bone-crushing Turkish massage, and atomic wedgies!  The Zero Point Zero video and cinematography crew (super talented people)  get basically the same experience as he does.  Lucky dogs!

He keeps the discussion down to earth.  He develops a relationship with the audience, as a good speaker naturally does.

When the show was over, I hopped in line with my hardcover copy of Medium Raw in hand.

I snapped a photo of my mom with him.  She looks buff!

As she posed for the photo, my heart was pounding out of my chest!  He looked so cool sipping his beer.

He signed my book 😉

I had made a mental list of things I wanted to ask and say to him if I ever got the chance to meet him.

Phew!

Okay, here I go!

*cricket sounds*

Nothing.

I walk up to his table and go completely blank.  Doh! Worst case scenario 😦  I told him about my list and how I forgot it all.  He laughed and we smiled for this picture that will be framed in my kitchen (for good luck!).

At least I didn’t blink 🙂

Long Weekend In VT

Friday morning, Mr FSL & I packed our weekend bags, dropped off Rocco at his grandparents’ house, and we hit the road.  We went to our usual winter spot, Killington, VT.  It was the first time either of us had been here in the fall.  The leaves were changing already.  The ride was gorgeous.  The forecast called for rain, but on Friday we had sunny skies and perfect t-shirt & jeans weather. 

For those of you not familiar with this corner of the US, Killington is a ski town.  It was so weird to see the mountain (and the town) without snow!  You could still see where the trails are, but they are green instead of white.

We  checked in to our hotel, dropped off our bags and headed to the mountain to go for a hike.  It was gorgeous, and really steep! 

There’s nothing like a long weekend vacation & being outside to get me sentimental.  Mr. FSL carved our initials into this birch tree.   If you are like a few of my friends, you are gagging.  Stop.  I’m a bit corny and I love this.

The next day was Brewfest.  There were so many great local breweries showcasing their seasonal beers.  It was hard to choose which ones to try.  I am soooo not a beer connoisseur, so I tried what sounded nice to me.  We had a blast.

 Before we left the following morning, we went to breakfast.  I had a pancake with famous VT maple syrup, hash browns, eggs, bacon, and an english muffin.  Yep, this chick eats.  I cleaned my plate.  I also washed it all down with 4 coffees 😀  Poor Mr. FSL probably wanted a muzzle for me  or ear plugs for him on the ride home. 

Missing from photo: delicious pancake. 

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Are there any local-ish festivals in your area?  Are you a plate cleaner or do you always leave leftovers?

Cacio e Pepe

Thursday,  I was feeling under the weather, so I took a sick day.  Mindy’s sick day looked like this:

 *wake up

* running late to the doctor’s office so I skip coffee & breakfast

*get lost & stuck behind 15 school buses during my rush.

*see doc

*head home

*eat english muffin with natural peanut butter & Nutella

* Tweet that I want to marry Nutella & change my name to Mintella

*watch No Reservations Rome episode that I recorded on demand

*think (okay, daydream complete with drooling) about dinner…

*drive to the Italian market and purchase an obscene amount of imported cheeses

Anthony Bourdain hits up this hole in the wall restaurant and orders the special.  Rome is known for it’s Carbonara (I’ll test that recipe out next week) and it’s Cacio e Pepe.  This dish got me going.  Nothing cures like carbohydrates right?  Tonight’s din will be pastastic. 

 I scoured the net for the most authentic sounding recipe, and found a kindred spirit!  “A Food Lover’s Oddessy” is a blog about, you guessed it, travel & food!   Here’s the recipe from the blog.  The red type is my wacked out commentary. 

Cacio e Pepe alla Roma Sparita

(Serves 2 people)

Half pound spaghetti

About 6 cups well-salted boiling water

For the “sauce”:

About 1 1/2 cups (2 large ladles) boiling pasta water

1 tablespoon freshly, coarsely grated pepper, plus more for garnish

2 tablespoons butter

1 3/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnish

For the Parmesan bowl:

3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

This dish is served in a parmesan bowl.  Like the moon is made of cheese, only it’s a bowl.

Like that.  To make the Parmesan bowl, spread a very thin layer of the cheese onto a slightly warmed non-stick pan in the form of a circle, about six inches in diameter.

Here’s my attempt.

 (The cheese should slowly start to melt when you place it into the pan). Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling. Using a spatula, slide the cheese circle out of the pan and onto a turned over bowl. (To create a pretty bowl like that at Roma Sparita, it’s best to use a mold/bowl that’s not higher than 2 inches, letting the excess fan out with creases at the edges.) Use tongs to press the cheese, only while it’s hot, down or out, as you like. Cool while you make the pasta.

Or do what I did.

Then dump it down the garbage disposal and turn the kitchen fan on.  Burnt cheese stinks. Well, at least I tried to get fancy. Cook the pasta according to the directions for that brand. When the pasta is not quite cooked, about 3 minutes before you would normally take it out of the water, Get a large pan, and add the boiling pasta water, the butter and the pepper to a hot saute pan.

Add the drained pasta to the pan and toss through the water mixture until the pasta absorbs almost all of the water.

Remove from the heat, and add the grated cheese to the pasta.

No.  We aren’t doin’ low fat up in Casa FSL tonight.  When Mama is sick, I eat what I want 😉  Quickly stir the cheese into the pasta. Place into the Parmesan cup and garnish with more grated cheese and freshly grated pepper, to taste.  I added a sprinkle of garlic powder for an extra kick. Buon Appetito!

 Simple, always in season, a bit creamy, a bit cheesey, pastaliscious, and peppery.  Hopefully, next summer, I’ll be able to gush about how amazing this dish was when I ate it in Rome (not in my small Connecticut kitchen).  Until then, this recipe will have to send me away, well maybe just my tastebuds.

What’s your favorite pasta recipe?  Share it with a sistah so I can road test it, then blog about it (obviously 😉 ). 

xo

Mindy

Living Like A Real Italian?

When you hear living like an Italian do you think of spaghetti and meatballs?  Spray tans, spiky hair, and a gold chain (GTL anyone?!)?  Simplistic fashion icons? Homemade wine perhaps? 

Yeah Buddy!  T-Shirt Tiiiiime!

Well, growing up in a VERY Italian town, and being raised in an Italian American household, I see things a bit differently than the stereotypical Italiana. 

I was watching No Reservations and Anthony Bourdain makes some serious points in the Naples Episode that many people shoud take notice of.

 It dawned on me that real Italians (people who actually LIVE in Italy) have a lifestyle that reflects their surroundings.  They cook with only fresh ingredients, caught or picked within their own neighborhood.   They don’t use imported cheese.  They use the cheese from their Uncle Luigi’s sheep.  They don’t buy chilean sea bass.  They use the mussels caught from the beach across the street.  Italians are very resourceful this way.  It’s really a beautiful and uncomplicated way of life (and a way of eating).  This episode was my favorite one yet.

This guy

owns a restaurant in NYC and he calls it “Italian”.  Some patrons have been put off because there was not any chicken parm on the menu.  This man used what was local and at its peak of freshness and put it on the menu for the day.  The mentality is Italian.  It is more Italian than all of the Italian restaurants we know in the USA. The concept is brilliant.  It captures the essence of Italy.  This concept (even if you aren’t Italian)  is kind of like modern art.  It may not look like the DaVinci painting that we have forever known (or labeled) as art.  We must look closer into it to appreciate its depth, its soul.

It is my philospohy in the kitchen and where most of my best recipe ideas come from.  Use what you have on hand.  I’ve always said necessity breeds creativity.  If you need juice from 5 limes for your Key Lime Pie but only have enough juice to fill a shot glass, try using those limes, a lemon, an orange, and some coconut extract for fun! (See that action in real life here).

 If you need a flower vase and don’t have one, chop down your stems and pop the flowers into short drinking glasses. I talk it out here.

 

Do you live like an Italian?

Looking Back…What A Rockin’ Year!

Today is my last day of school!!! Actually, it’s a half day 🙂  I am uber psyched!  Every time I reach the end of something, I reflect.  I reflect to see what I’ve learned, what I could do better next time, and how I’ve grown as a person from the experience.

As I look back,  it was a great year for me.  I have so much to be thankful for.

Here’s my last year in review…

June 2010: I had my bridal shower, bachelorette party, and found out our offer was accepted on our first house! Click here & here to see what our house looked like before we bought it.

July 2010: I went from Mindy Mac to Mindy P!  I married my best friend July 30th. See pics of that here. We paid a honeymoon visit to Negril, Jamaica.

August 2010: I turned 28, moved into my in law’s house and gained 8 pounds because my mother-in-law is an amazing cook!!  Click here for her crockpot chicken & potatoes recipe.

September 2010:  We finally closed on our house!!!

October 2011:  We moved in!!! Mr.FSL turned 32.  His vineyard birthday party is where we snapped this picture…


November 2010: November 1st was the inaugural post (about jalapeno infused tequila no less, lol! See my first post here).  I got my wisdom teeth pulled. We hosted our first family holiday at casa FSL!  I made my first Thanksgiving turkey!! (Hear about that mess new experience here)

December 2010: Our first married Christmas in our new home!  Instead of a housewarming party, we had a “Bad Christmas Sweater Party” and made a shot-ski!  Hear all about that crazy time here.

January 2011: The snowiest winter on record for CT! Actually, there was so much snow, our roof that extended over our beck deck (which extends the entire length of the house) collapsed!  Hear about that craziness here. Here’s a shot of my husband and his dad & our borrowed snow blower on the back deck.  That lovely metal piece in the background used to be our roof 😦

February 2011:  We took a much needed vacation to Salt Lake City, Utah!  We went skiing on some of the most beautiful terrain & ate at the oldest saloon in the state! Get the scoop on that trip here, here, and here.

March 2011: We threw our first rager!  About 100 people came to our house for a surprise party.  We had the pizza truck & a comedian, great time.  I got the DIY itch & painted a chalkboard wall in our kitchen & decorated it for the occasion. I drew Yankee Stadium & a pic of the b-day boy on it…

April 2011: My chicken tortilla soup recipe was featured by Oxygen Magazine!!  I was sooo excited, it’s my fitness bible (get the recipe for that here)! My husband & I did a photo shoot in a haunted opera house (see those pics & the insane video here)  My craigslist desk makeover was “Freshly Pressed” and is still the most popular post on Finding Silver Linings to date.  I was stoked and amazed that I was also a  “Pop Pressed” featured blogger!  Crazy!!!

Are you kidding?! I was so excited!

May 2011:  My mom & I had the best Mother’s Day ever!  We hit up Manhattan for a spa day, made it on TV, and ate at one of the best restaurants in the country!! (Hear all about it here).  I started my vegetable garden!

June 2011:  Here we are! Finally feeling settled at our house.  Getting the hang of keeping up after laundry, cooking, cleaning, wife-ing, ya know, that whole thing.  All in all, what a wonderful year!  I can’t wait to see what summer vacation brings!  You all know I have a list of stuff to do!!

Sorry for the uber wordy post.  I guess I am feeling a bit nostalgic. Looking back does that to me.

Thanks for sticking around 🙂  I love you guys!!!

xoxo

Mindy

Davis Chang Lives In My Kitchen

Well, not exactly.  He is my latest obsession source of inspiration in the kitchen. 

David Chang is the mastermind behind the  gastronomical Momofuku restaurants. I ate at Ma Peche and had some of the best dessert I’ve ever eaten from Momofuku’s Milk Bar (see the food pics here).

I swiped 2 business cards off the front desk, and the bill came with a sweet postcard (I swiped an extra off the next table).  Criminal, I know. 

I grabbed a few frames I had laying around the house, popped out the photos I was getting sick of, and took out some clear tape. I figured, since the business cards are tiny, I needed something to “mat” my new artwork with so it fit properly into the frame.  The frame came with some corrugated cardboard.  I like the natural color and the cool texture.  YAY!

Voila! Free, semi-original artwork!

I feel like if I surround myself with a momento of a supremely innovative chef, maybe some of that good stuff will rub off on me!

This can be done with any business card (from your first dinner date with your significant other) or a postcard (from a fun vacation) for a sweet sentimental touch.  There are also some really cool vintage postcards out there. 

What have you DIYed lately?

Bourdainisms

It’s not exactly a secret that I wish I had Anthony Bourdain’s job or his connections.  But his sense of humor is fantastic. Click here to read some of the funniest things to come out of his gourmet street food eating mouth.