22 Aug

This morning, the last chapters were read, the last chords learned, and the last batches of cookies were put in the mail to far away places.

Does this mean..

Yes, yes it does.


But, you may ask, where are the posts documenting the said completed items?

Weren’t you asking that? I thought so.

To be fair, I said I was going to complete everything by my birthday (August 23), not necessarily have everything blogged.

You’re going to have to take me on my word. The list is done.

And, for all of you who are desperate to see how things turned out, I’ll have everything written up by the weekend. Probably with some fun, fancy pictures.

So keep checking here.

I know you will.

1 day until 26!


16. Learn how to say 5 phrases in French

21 Aug

Remember those “Muzzy” commercials? The ones designed to help kids learn French? From those commercials, everyone was able to say “I am a little girl,” regardless of whether they actually were a little girl or not.

I speak Spanish. I speak French with a Spanish accent. It’s confusing.

Thanks to these Youtube videos I can now say the following in French:

“I don’t understand” (key phrase)

“I don’t speak French” (also important)

“Do you speak English?” (goes with the second one, I guess)

“That’s all”

“Where is the bathroom?”

Clearly, all I need now is a trip to France to practice these critical phrases.

Alternatively, I could just make a video like this uh-ma-zing one.

2 days until 26


20. Take a train trip to a random town in the Hudson Valley

21 Aug

The Hudson Valley is full of little towns that I mused over as I took the train back and forth to Poughkeepsie during my college years. But really, I had no reason to get off at Croton-Harmon or Peekskill.

Still, a part of me wondered what lay in those sleepy little towns. I was fascinated, nay, enchanted, with the idea that perhaps there was a magical village, lying on the banks of the Hudson River.

So I journeyed to Tarrytown. I didn’t take a train because I was already in Westchester and I had a car. Does “take a car trip” sound less romantic? Sorry. We’re just going to have to deal.

Tarrytown looked like… well.. a small town. With an itsy bitsy main street. There were also some cool old historic houses that I drove past.

No pictures of the sights, but I did get a pair of fab earrings and some tea on sale. Those are the souvenirs that matter, right?


2 days until 26

19. Send handwritten letters to 3 people that I haven’t seen

19 Aug

Email is nice.

Snail mail is even better. When it’s not junk or bills. There’s not nearly enough of that fun letter mail.

I hate that term “snail mail.” It really doesn’t take that long to send a letter to another place. And when I think of “snail mail” I have an awful image of an animated snail pulling a large bag  of letters and packages behind him. He’s probably wearing a mail hat, too. You know the kind I’m talking about.

Anyway, getting letters in the mail. That’s fun stuff. Especially when they’re out of the blue. It’s like a mini good surprise. There are bad surprises, but they don’t usually come in letters.

Three letters to three friends I haven’t seen in forever.

In the mail tomorrow.

Take that, snail.

4 days until 26

21. Smile at everyone I see for an entire day

18 Aug

Smiling is hard.

And I’m a pretty friendly, happy person. I think.

But smiling at EVERYONE you see, EVERYONE who makes eye contact with you?

That’s hard, yo.

Not only is it difficult to do, it’s difficult to remember to do.

Maybe it’s because I was in New York City. Maybe it’s because it’s hard to smile at someone when they’re clearly not smiling at you.

A few people smiled back. Some had no facial change whatsoever.

Do you know how you feel when you’re  smiling at someone and they’re not smiling back?


It’s mad awkward. You feel kind of silly.

Glad that this item is done so I can go back to being the sullen, angry looking person that I am.

5 days until 26

22. (Edited) Go peach picking

18 Aug

True confession time: Number 22 “Navigate NYC with a word” can’t happen. I know you’re at the edge of your seat wondering how in the world I was going to actually navigate New York with a word. But that’s going to have to wait for another blog, another day. Frankly, many things conspired against me to eliminate this from my list. One being, I forgot that I was house sitting in Westchester this week, therefore making it harder to trek around the city.

“But Katie,” you might say. “You’ve had so long to do this. And you knew you were house sitting! Where were you doing with all your time?”

Folks, please notice that “Increase planning insanity” was not on the list. Therefore, I was not working on becoming even more OCD about my schedules. Maybe before I turn 27 I can attempt that.

Another thing: The weather earlier this week really stunk. I was planning on making the Metro North trip in, but the idea of sloshing around in the wet, dirty summer city didn’t sound that appealing.

So! I needed to add something I haven’t done before. And luckily, this day presented just that:

Peach picking!

I’ve been fruit picking before, oh yes I have. I consider myself quite an expert. Maybe not “drop-everything-and-work-out-in-the-fields” expert, but I’ve done my share of harvesting. Apples, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, plums, but never peaches.

So! I went!

Good ol’ Connecticut did me proud and produced such a cute orchard only an hour away. When asked if I wanted the two smaller bags or the big one, I obvi picked the big one. I contemplated getting two big ones. But then I realized that while I was crazy, maybe that was a little TOO insane. I picked 1/4 bushel of late summer apples and 1/4 bushel of peaches. The actual poundage of a bushel changes based on the produce, but for those who were wondering, it’s approximately 12 pounds of each. Each.

I have. A lot. Of fruit.

6 days until 26

23. Make or bake one thing from 10 cookbooks- Baking: From My Home to Yours

16 Aug

I’ve heard that you don’t know what you’ve have until it’s gone.

And then, when you realize what you’ve lost, there’s this sudden woosh of sadness.

I miss having a kitchen. The one in my apartment is, let’s face it, a disaster. You can’t even describe it as “quaint” because that paints the mental image of carved cabinets and finicky ovens. Perhaps a loose knob or two.

No. My kitchen is not “quaint,” it’s “nonexistent.” We’re talking no counter space, microwave, mini-fridge, and a four-burner stovetop. I bought a toaster oven on a desperate February snow day, positive that I could not make it another day without cookies.

It sounds like I’m complaining. I am, a little, I’d admit it. Whining, even. And really, I’ve survived. I’ve lived in the apartment for two years, and I haven’t wasted away to a mere shadow of my former self (I blame the cookies I was so hellbent on).

The problem is, when I get back into a kitchen, I go a little crazy.

I become obsessed with doing all the things I can’t do in my little hole-in-the-wall impostor of a kitchen. Seriously, I think I have dreams about the possibilities. Crazy sparkely dreams filled with flour and sugar and lemons and rainbows.

Ok, maybe not rainbows.

I’m house sitting this week. Besides getting to spend time with these ladies, I also have access to a kitchen. With a counter. And a normal size oven. And a dishwasher.

Be still my heart. I may never leave.

So far, I’ve made vegetarian chili, cheddar cornbread, and soft pretzels. To be fair, it’s been pouring rain, and my favorite place to be when it’s pouring rain, other than back in bed, is the kitchen. There’s just something so insanely movie-romantic about baking when there’s torrential rains going on outside.

Needless to say, the gym has been sorely neglected.

I also made this amazing recipe by Dorie Greenspan. It’s so simple and elegant and ridiculously easy. And it has the word “French” in the title which makes it sound that much more sophisticated. Remember that sophistication when you’re eating this with your fingers while watching bad TV.

I think it might be my “go-to” loaf cake from now on. Everyone needs one of those, right?

[keep reading! there’s more here]

23. Make or bake one thing from 10 cookbooks- Vegan Brunch

12 Aug

I like brunch.

The issue is, 88.7% of Manhattan likes brunch, too.

I don’t like long lines. They give me time to think about the fact that I’m going to spend $18.63 on eggs, coffee, and if I’m lucky, a Sunday-morning acceptable cocktail. All of which I could have made at home. I try not to think about how many bottles of Andre that $18.63 could get me.

But brunch is fun! You see friends! You get waited on! If it’s nice weather and you’re willing to wait 42 minutes, you sit outside! Sigh.

Not to rub it in, when you don’t work in the summer, you can have brunch every day. Especially when you don’t wake up until mid-morning. Because, even if you call it “breakfast,” let’s face it, it’s still brunch.

The sad thing is, you’re eating brunch by yourself.

I look pretty cool with a book at a restaurant by myself. And heavens! I’m not above that at all!

But maybe I could save some money and make brunch at home. Because then I can stay in my PJs and watch “Real Housewives of New York” while I eat. Leaving the apartment is overrated.

[keep reading! there’s more here!]

5. Go to the Brooklyn Museum

12 Aug

I have to admit, I don’t leave my neighborhood very much.

Something happens when you live in the same area building that you work. And when there’s grocery stores and restaurants, and clothing stores nearby.

You don’t really…leave.

Every now and then I venture downtown (or on the rare occasion, acrosstown) for visiting purposes, but that’s not a regular occurrence.

And Brooklyn? Forgetaboutit. That’s like, once in a blue moon. Which is a shame, because it seems pretty nifty.

I’ve got Manhattan figured out. It’s a fairly easy to navigate and the numbers make sense and it’s a grid and I can tell whether I’m going East or West.

I headed to the Brooklyn Museum yesterday, fully aware that, should I try to go anywhere after the museum, I was most likely going to get lost. And I did. But at least I made it to the museum!

Things I realized while at the Brooklyn Museum:

-I really like those “period rooms.” You know, the ones where you step into this little enclave and see a room decorated the way would have been in a house in the 1800s.

-If there’s a lot of text on a sign explaining the exhibit, I skim. Then, halfway through the exhibit, I forget what I was actually looking at. Sometimes I go back to re-read the sign. Sometimes I don’t.

-Egyptian art is cool. No matter how old you are and how many times you’ve seen it. It’s still cool. There. I said it.

-If there’s a “wrong way” to go through exhibits, I do it.

-If a piece of art looks like it would be fun to touch, some kid will touch it (hello, summer camp field trips). And then will be painfully honest when the teacher gets mad. “It looked like it would be fun?”

-Visible storage=cool in a museum. Visible storage= a mess in your apartment.

-It’s really frustrating when you can’t find the elevator.

11 days until 26

3. Sew and wear a dress

9 Aug

I haven’t always wanted to be a teacher.

Oh no, I went through a plethora of possible professions (hey there, alliteration) before landing on teaching.

I moved from my “doctor during the day, ballerina at night” idea (not realistic because what if I was performing Swan Lake and there was an emergency? bummer.) to various others, including the desire to own/operate a recording studio, and a brief stint wondering how I could be hired to be the person who finds music for TV shows. Even now, in a job that I love, I secretly want to open a bakery.

Never have I ever wanted to be a seamstress. Or a fashion designer. Ever.

I have a sewing machine that was purchased when I was in high school. I took a sewing class and produced a very boxy, unattractive dress that no one would ever wear. To this date, I’ve made a skirt, a bag, and some curtains.

When it comes to sewing, I don’t have the same perfectionist tendencies that I seem to have with everything else. When I first typed “seem” right now, I actually wrote “seam.” Pretty punny, no? Just go with it.

I get crazy frustrated when fabric doesn’t cooperate or when I have to do a lot of pinning and I can’t, CAN’T cut in a straight line. Get that? Not even close to a straight line. And usually, right before the project is done, something happens like accidentally cutting the middle of the skirt, or sewing a seam that goes way the wrong way. And that’s the end of that.

And then I ball the fabric up and shove it into a plastic bag and pout. I’ve gotten quite good at pouting at the sewing machine since I started this project.

But then! Lo! I finished my dress! I used this tutorial that I found online. I have to admit, shopping for the fabric was the best part. I got a little fabric crazy and bought enough other colors to make two more dresses. No biggie, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

Dress success! I only wore it for a few hours because then the torrential rains started and my rain boots don’t really go with the style.

Please excuse the less-than-desirable quality picture, the dirty mirror, and the cluttered sink. Basically, I’m a hot mess.

14 days until 26