2 sisters 2 cities

March 29, 2010

Co-ed Sports Leagues

Filed under: K's post — 2sisters2cities @ 6:50 pm

When I first moved to the city a few years ago my roommate and I didn’t know many people.  One of my friends from high school invited us to play in a co-ed kickball league through a league called WAKA or the World Adult Kickball Association. We were a bit skeptical at first but after the first game we were hooked.  Most of the friends that we hang out with now are people we have met through kickball or people that we have got to play on our teams.   This Spring will be my sixth season.  The great part about this league is that you don’t have to be an extreme athlete and afterwards you go to the sponsored bar with your teams and play flip cup.  WAKA has leagues all over the country and it is a really good way to meet new people and network.

Another league that also does a lot of coed sports for fun is an organization called Zog Sports.  Through this league I play touch football , but they also have volleyball, bowling, wiffle ball, basketball, dodgeball, softball, soccer, and new additions all the time .   This league also has a sponsored bar that everyone goes to afterwards.  Part of the money you spend at the bar goes back to your chosen charity so it also a way of giving back.

If I haven’t given you enough things to do yet there is also a bowling league I am in called Better off Bowling.   This has leagues in NYC, Boston, Chicago, Philly, and DC.  If you like bowling this league is fun because you can bowl and get shoes for a pretty decent price (decent for the city that is.)

So if you are new to your area, looking for a new activity, or just really miss your college days of drinking  you should look into joining one of these leagues.   I promise you I don’t work for any,  I am just an active participant.

Enjoy!

-K

5 Fun Bridal Shower Gift Tips

Filed under: M's post — Tags: , — 2sisters2cities @ 8:50 am

With bridal shower season around the corner, I have started to think about different ways in which I have presented gifts at showers.  Since the actual gift itself is usually not a surprise to the recipient, I try to give gifts with a creative spin.  By presenting your gift in a fun manner, you can create a conversation piece and make the shower a bit more fun (admit it…it gets boring fast to watch someone open gift after gift for hours upon end).  Here are five gift/packaging tips:

1.  In most cases, stick to the registry.  Unless you have a really great idea for a particular bride, people create registries for a reason.  If you end up going off the registry, you are often creating more work for someone as they may not need that particular item.  People often think that giving off the registry is too impersonal, but you can make it more creative and personal by packaging it in a nice way.  You can also supplement gifts from the registry with some small non-registry gifts (more below).
2.  When you are wrapping a gift, you don’t need to necessarily use wrapping paper or the common white wedding gift bag.  If you are buying off the registry, the gift likely won’t be a surprise so you don’t need to necessarily conceal it under layers of wrapping.  For one shower, I bought a few sets of plates off the registry and tied them together with a piece of thick, white satin ribbon.  I had just been to another wedding the previous weekend and had won the floral centerpiece for my table, so I took a few of the roses from the flowers, cut the stems down to size, and tucked them into the ribbon.  If you have a large garden, you could also use some floral clippings from your own yard.  If you were giving a cooking-related gift, a fresh herb cutting like rosemary would also add a nice touch tucked into the gift packaging.
3.  When searching through the registry, try to find a good “basket” and smaller items to fill it with.  The basket does not necessarily need to a be a basket per say, just some type of container that could hold other related gifts.  For example, for one shower, I bought a colander and filled it with smaller cooking related items.  I bought items on the registry like a pasta serving spoon, spatula, and garlic press, as well as a few non-registry items such as a gourmet olive oil, pasta sauce, and pasta.  I have also seen a gift combos such as a flatware tray filled with flatware and serving spoons from the registry (tied up with tulle) and a basket filled with rolled-up towels.
4. Scope out a registry early before all the good gifts/gift combinations are taken!
5. Try to stick to a theme.  If you are buying wine glasses, add a bottle of wine or wine opener.  If you are buying a cooking pan, pair it with a pair of oven mitts. Try to avoid going through the list and picking a random selection of items to get to your price point (a salt shaker, vacuum replacement bags, a bowl, and a pillowcase would make for an awkward gift!)

What are some gifts you have given at showers that you feel presented well?

-m

March 28, 2010

Basic Cooking and Knives Skill Class and a Basil & Lemon Chicken Recipe

Filed under: M's post, M's recipes — Tags: , , — 2sisters2cities @ 8:11 am

One of the other classes I recently took at the Boston Center for Adult Education has been the Basic Cooking and Knives Skill class with Chef Lars.  I took a couples cooking class at the Cambridge Culinary Institute with husband M a little while back, but I did not love that particular class (deadlines, did not know where anything was in the kitchen, people running everywhere, etc).  However, I really enjoyed this class at the BCAE.  While I cook almost every night, I have never taken a class in proper knives skills (by the way, it’s pretty funny to tell someone you are going to a knives class and not specify cooking…it sounds like you are trying to learn how to stab someone).  I learned a lot of good new techniques and was able to modify my current way of using a knife to the proper way.  Each night, we made some really delicious food.  I just so happened to have brought my lunch in tupperware containers, so I was able to bring some extra food to an appreciative Husband M each night.

Here is an easy recipe we made on the night we learned how to cut up a whole chicken (something which I have done before, but not properly).  I made this the other night and it was a very easy meal to put together.  This recipe is pretty lax in that you can add or take away ingredients if you have them on hand or not.

Basil and Lemon Chicken:

Ingredients:
-1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
-8 basil leaves (cut chiffonade style …I know how to do this now!)
-3 or 4 green onion, sliced
-juice of 1 lemon
-salt and pepper
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-4 tablespoons olive oil
-1/3 cup white wine

Set the oven to 380 degrees F.  In a roasting pan, mix the basil, spring onions, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and white wine (I just eye-balled most of these measurements as they do not need to be exact…I also had some chopped up Italian parsley on hand so I threw this in).  Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Put chicken into the pan and cover with the marinade.  Roast the chicken for 30-40 minutes based on the pieces (with my oven, it was closer to 45 minutes).  Serve the chicken with the sauce from the pan.  I served the chicken with grilled zucchini and white rice (which nicely soaked up the lemon sauce).

Once I finish my weekly digital photography class, I am thinking about taking Basic Cooking 1,2, and 3 as I learned quite a bit in the class and I imagine could learn a great deal more.

-m

March 27, 2010

The last 5 books I Have Read

Filed under: M's post — Tags: , , — 2sisters2cities @ 8:06 am

I have been on the road the past few weekends (ski trip, Vegas) and we are finally home this weekend to catch up on sleep, laundry, and grocery shopping.  Since my last 5 book summary, here is what I have been reading:

1.  My Life in France by Julia Child- This is Julia Child’s autobiography…particularly focusing on her years living in France.  The movie Julie & Julia bases many scenes of the movie around stories told in this book.  After seeing the movie, I enjoyed reading this, especially in Julia’s enthusiastic tone.

2.  Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro- I was googling for books to add to my library list one day, when I came across the following list: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.  This book just happened to be number one on the list so I figured it was a must read.  Set in England, it tells the story of children who are raised in a special boarding school that is isolated from the rest of the world.  These children were scientifically reproduced for their organs.  When they turn adults, it is their role in society to donate their organs to “normal” people to help them carry on longer lives.  It was definitely a sad novel, but an interesting look at bio-ethics and questions we need to ask ourselves as we delve into the next steps of bio-technology.

3.  Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Toibin- This novel is the story of a young Irish girl in the 1950s.  Unable to find work in Ireland, a local priest helps her find work in America and assists with her relocation.  Once there, she faces a great deal of homesickness, but eventually falls in love with a young Italian boy.  After a sad twist, she is forced to make a very difficult decision with her future.

4. Nanny Returns: A Novel by Emma McLaughin & Nicola Kraus-  This book is the sequel to The Nanny Diaries.  This was a fun, light read and I got through it very quickly.  The story takes place a few years after Nanny Diaries concludes.  Nan is now married and runs into one of her old charges.  Through a series of events, she once again get tangled into the affairs of the crazy X family.

5.  Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert- This book is also a sequel…this one to Eat, Pray, Love.  I really enjoy Gilbert’s writing style.  I read EPL while I was vacationing in Spain last year and it was a really great book to read while traveling (as much of the whole book is about her one year travel adventure to Italy, India, and Indonesia).  This book starts off with her Brazilian boyfriend being detained in US Customs and no longer allowed in the country.  Forced with this new challenge, she takes a look at her fear of marriage, as well as the matrimonial history among many cultures.  I really enjoy her writing style and learned some really interesting things while reading this book.

I have gone overboard on my library hold requesting and I can’t quite seem to catch up on my current list (I am ending up having to turn books in for their final due date before I can even crack the cover)!  Since the weather is not going to be particularly nice here in Boston this weekend, I will have to do some catch-up reading.  What books have you been reading lately?

-m

March 22, 2010

If you give a mouse a muffin…

Filed under: K's post — Tags: , , — 2sisters2cities @ 9:20 pm

I am not going to end that statement,  I am just going to tell you don’t do it… get rid of them ASAP!   After living in a crappy city apartment for two years my roommate and I have dealt with our fair share of mice, and have sadly become a bit immune to it.

I remember the first day I saw a mouse in my apartment.   I was in bed reading a magazine and in came the little bugger from under my doors.   B was away for the weekend and I being fearful of mice, screamed like I never screamed before.   I didn’t really know anyone in town so I called my dad (who was in Syracuse)  almost in tears about the mouse the ran under my bed.   I didn’t sleep a wink that night.  After that we had many run ins with said mouse,   we refer to him as Walter.  After almost stepping on Walter, who was  outside of the shower sleeping on our bath mat (We have pictures for proof), it became apparent we needed to fix this problem.   We keep our apartment clean and these mice weren’t getting into any of the food.  They just seemed to be running around the apartment.    Our landlords idea of dealing with the problem was to set up sticky traps around the apartment.  First off they don’t work, second off GROSS!  No way I was going to come home to find a squeaking mouse on a sticky pad.

My boss at the time recommended a trap called a Rat Zapper.  I set the trap up and within the next week I killed 7 mice!  The trap is basically a electrocution chamber where on one side you place the bate and the other side is where the mouse or rat (GAG) crawls in. (On a side note, the day I see a rat in my apartment is the day I am packing my bag and moving back to Syracuse..haha).  Once the mouse hits the metal pad (which is before the food) they get zapped… don’t tell PETA but zapped as in dead.   After this occurs a red light flashes to tell you that you have caught something.   The first couple weeks that I had this trap,  I would wake up and run to the trap to see if it was flashing.  It was like Christmas morning! You are probably thinking I am sick right about now,  but you deal with a mouse problem and tell me you act differently.  The first couple of weeks were the worst but after that we only get a couple every time the weather changes.  Can you tell why I am so excited to leave this apartment?

-K

March 17, 2010

Sister K is back!

Filed under: K's post — Tags: , , — 2sisters2cities @ 8:28 am

So, I have been missing in action for some time now. I am sorry to flake out on you all like that, but I do have a good explanation of where I have been. First and foremost, I have been looking for a new job and have successfully found one. I worked my last two weeks at my old company and just started my new job yesterday. It has only been two days but it has been really good so far. I actually won a $500 vacuum today in a raffle! I am going to vacuum my apartment after this blog…Yes, I am actually really excited about this.

I went to my boyfriend’s concert that I had mentioned in my last post The band was really great and the venue was a lot of fun! Also I went home over the weekend and brought my boyfriend M (yes, we have a “M” overload in this blog) with me to meet my parents. It was a big step for us, but it went really well and we had a lot of fun.

That is not all- my roommate and I have been looking for apartments (well sort of). I found a great little historic brownstone on craigslist and we went to look at it. It was really cute, has a great landlord, an outside space (a city living find), a dishwasher, and cheaper rent! It is also closer to transportation and we have our own private entrance. Needless to say we are moving in next month!

It has been a busy couple weeks to say the least. My life has just about done a complete 180 since New Years and I couldn’t be happier! Stayed tuned for life and cooking updates (don’t worry- I have been cooking without you!)

-K

March 11, 2010

The MBTA #9 Bus is Not Your Private Town Car

Filed under: M's post — Tags: , , , — 2sisters2cities @ 9:55 am

This morning, I was riding the #9 bus from South Boston to the Back Bay, when I encountered a passenger who clearly did not have a firm understanding of how you ride the bus during rush hour.  I was checking my iPhone or reading my book, when all of a sudden, I encountered the following conversation take place between the woman sitting two seats down from (I was sitting in the back row) and the  guy sitting kitty-corner from me.

Angry business man:   STOP JOSTLING YOUR KNEE!  I am trying to read the paper.  (Please note, his arm was clearly well over his armrest and on top of her purse.)
Woman: Stop using my knee as your armrest.
Angry business man:   I was on this bus first and picked this seat.  You are the one who came on after me and picked that seat.
Woman: Are you kidding me?  It’s rush hour and every seat, plus standing room is going to be taken!
A.B.M.:  You could have picked any other seat, but you had to sit right there when I was already sitting here.
Woman:  That’s how the bus works in the morning…you fill in the bus so everyone can get on.
A.B.M.: That’s just so f****in inconsiderate. You are such a b**ch.

The conversation clearly went even further down from there.  I was tempted to move over a seat and shove my large bag into his knee every time the bus turned, but I held back as this guy clearly had anger management issues.  I did not want to set him off further.  When he got off, he glared back at us as he walked outside.  I told the woman sitting next to me that I think the guy had ordered town car service, but had accidentally gotten on the bus instead.

-m

March 10, 2010

Spring Style Ideas

Filed under: M's post — Tags: , , — 2sisters2cities @ 11:16 am

Here is the look I am going for this spring…flowery shirt, cardigans, ballet flats, and scarves:

Spring Style Ideas
Items in this set:
Women’s new arrivals – sweaters – Cashmere open cardigan – J.Crew, $200
Women’s new arrivals – tees & knits – Flouncy flowers scoopneck tee -…, $40
Women – knits – Tissue garland tank – J.Crew, $36
J Crew Favorite-fit stretch wool trouser, $140
Women’s Apparel: Nylon trench: new arrivals | Banana Republic, $130

-m

March 7, 2010

Spring in Boston- Top 10 Things I am Looking Forward To

Filed under: M's post — Tags: , , , , , , , — 2sisters2cities @ 8:33 am

Although it is still not quite spring here in Boston, the slightly warmer weather and longer days are making me thing ahead to spring.   There are definitely a number of things I am looking forward to with the warm weather around the corner.  I wanted to share my favorite spring activities in Boston (in no particular order):

1.  Walking around Castle Island each evening before dinner

The start of the Castle Island loop (photo courtesy of pruet)

2.  Planting my herb garden on my back porch

Hopefully my herb garden will look like this…(Photo Courtesy of -Chad Johnson)

3.  Red Sox game at Fenway

Go Sox!

4.  Walking around the Back Bay during lunch to window shop and check out spring flowers during lunch

Flowers in Copley Square

5.  Reading on the roof deck

Ah roof deck, how I have missed you this winter…

6. Sleeping with the windows open

This is not exactly the view from my window, but you get the idea (photo courtesy of karenwithak)

7.  Walking through the Boston Public Garden to check out the flowers and ducklings

These are actually Marina Bay ducklings, not Public Garden ones…

8.  First boat ride of the season in Boston Harbor

This photo was taken during Boston Tall Ships 2009

9.  Outside brunch/dinner in Boston

Great way to people watch and soak up the nice weather (photo courtesy of Randy Son of Robert)

10.  Copley Square Farmer’s Market

I can’t wait for the fresh produce! (Photo courtesy of lillieinthecity)

What are some of your favorite Spring activities in your respective city?

-m

March 6, 2010

St Patrick’s Day Party Ideas

Filed under: M's recipes — Tags: , , , — 2sisters2cities @ 6:53 pm

Living in South Boston, we usually end up throwing a St. Patrick’s day party for the annual parade.  Over the years, I’ve tried out serving different types of food for the event.  I’ve never tried making corned beef and cabbage, as that sounds like a truly terrible dish to me.  I like to stick with brunch ideas as the festivities usually start around 11 or 12 on a Sunday.  Here are some ideas:

-Make-Your-Own Omelette Bar: This is pretty easy to put together.  Gather a number of small bowls and fill them up with things that people might want to put in their omelette: mushrooms, green peppers, tomatoes, spinach, ham, shredded cheese, etc.  Also, in a large bowl, crack a few cartons of eggs and whisk together a large batch of egg mix.  Everyone can pick exactly what they want in their omelettes and everyone is happy.



-Breakfast Sandwiches: Cook a couple packages of bacon in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.  Put the bacon on paper towels to soak up the grease afterwards.  Cut a couple packages of  English muffins in half, put on a cookie sheet, and toast under the broiler.  In the meanwhile, start cooking eggs sunny-side up.  About 30 seconds before they are done, put a slice of cheese on top of each egg and allow to melt.  Put one egg on each English muffin bottom, top with bacon and the other half of the English muffin.

-On the side, I like to make a large fruit salad and have a couple of pitchers of beverages.  While most people stick to beer on St. Patty’s day, I like to make Bloody Mary’s and a sparkling pomegranate juice for the non-drinkers.  In small cups, put limes, lemons, and celery for people to add to their drinks.

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

-m

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