Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Favorite Doughnuts!

If you have been following my blog, it is easy to see that I have a pretty big sweet tooth. I love all sort of cakes, cookies, cupcakes and candies, and I have a very special spot for donuts.

There’s nothing better than the combination of the warm dough and the sticky and sweet glaze of a freshly-made doughnut. I would go to the 23rd Street Krispy Kreme every week to get my doughnut fix. I became such a loyal customer that one of the night employees would call me when the shells came off the conveyor belt, because I thought the shells were the best part.

I was really sad when the “Hot” light on 23rd Street went out for good. But, just when I thought I would have to be satisfied with the memories of the best donuts I’d ever tasted, I found something even better!

The Doughnut Plant, located on 379 Grand Street in New York City, opens its doors at 6 am and closes when their daily batch has been sold—which is not long since customers are lining up out the door. All of their treats are made with all natural ingredients and fresh fruits are used to make the glazes. My favorite is their new Crème Brulee yeast doughnut. The puffed dough is full of creamy custard with a toasted sugar topping. Stop by their bakery to try other fun flavors like Tres Leches, Banana Pecan, and Vanilla Bean, but don’t forget to get there early!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Getting organized is something that can be difficult to do, but is extremely necessary! Whether it is taking a day off work to get errands done, grocery shopping or throwing a party, I think a schedule is the best way to make sure everything gets done. If you have a “smart phones” like a Blackberry or iPhone, you will find either a calendar or to-do list. Most of the time the calendar will also have an alarm that goes off at a set time, making remembering your plans much easier! Having a simple wall or desk calendar can be very helpful as well. If you are someone who enjoys and uses technology often, a calendar on Outlook might be more beneficial to you instead. If you want to get really into it, you can even color code your schedule based on what it is – a plan with friends, an errand for the house, or something work-related. It allows you to see how you’re spending your time!

When recording your plans and figuring out dates, I recommend writing down not only what it is that you are doing, but also the time and even location. When your schedule gets busy, it is sometimes difficult to recall who you were supposed to meet where or if it was at 12pm or 2 pm. Do you have any other ideas for organizing your schedule?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I love picnics – grabbing a basket stocked with goodies, getting together some friends and enjoying a beautiful day outside. I think that food is one of the most important and fun parts of a picnic – you can do something as simple as a couple of snacks for an afternoon, or a full meal out under the stars.

For a full meal, I love to grill – hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, kabobs, and fish are all options that are easy and perfect for this time of year. There are lots of great marinades available to make a good dish great. Classic sides include antipasto/pasta salads, dips and cut up veggies, and potato and macaroni salads. Grilled fruit (peaches, pineapple, nectarine, etc.) is great sprinkled with brown sugar and served on top of a bed of creamy, cold vanilla ice cream, perfect for my favorite part – dessert! Of course, you can’t go wrong with fresh fruit – it always tastes a little better when you’re on the beach, in the park, or relaxing in your backyard. To quench that thirst, go for lemonades and limeades, throw in some blueberries or cherries to mix it up, or check out my recipe for a fantastic Arnold Palmer – I blogged about it on June 25th. For something more adult, try a chilled Rosé wine or a nice dry white – both are perfect for summer. Pack everything in a willow picnic basket – I love the ones that are insulated to keep everything nice and cold – grab a blanket and you’re on your way!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sammy is my pride and joy; as the saying goes - a dog really is a man’s best friend. Since pets become members of the family, they deserve to be treated like it. Especially during the hot summer months, we must be attentive to the needs of animals.

Even though it’s hot out, dogs still need their exercise. To avoid overheating, consider an early morning or evening walk when it’s cooler. Walks at this time also protect paws from the hot ground. You may not know, but animals can get sunburned too. If you aren’t able to limit walks to early morning and evening hours be sure to put sunscreen on your dog’s nose and ear tips; dogs with light-color coats are especially prone to sunburns and skin cancer from the sun.

Overheating may occur if your pet has been out in the strong rays of the sun. If you notice heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue immediately bring your pet to a cool shady spot and apply cool water to his/her body. Letting them lick ice cubes is also a great way to cool down.

Be sure to keep your pet fully hydrated! Spiking water with different flavors is a very popular trend for humans, so try it with your animals. Try some tuna or beef flavor added to the water bowl. Your dog will be sure to slurp up every drop!

And, of course, don’t forget to make sure your animal always wears an ID tag and collar. This has helped reunite many pets and owners.

But don’t lose site of how important it is to have fun with your pet too! Try some good old fashioned Frisbee, jogging, or playing in a kiddie pool or the local lake to get your pet in the summertime spirit!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer barbeques are one of my favorite things during the few warm months we have! I love getting together with a group of friends and just spend time relaxing and grilling in the warm summer sun. Sometimes though, the average hot dog and hamburger can get a bit boring and repetitive. One of the biggest issues I find myself running into is that I don’t just want meat. Especially with all the delicious light, summer vegetables out, I want to utilize them in my grilling while they last! Here are a few ideas to step up your next barbeque and wow your guests in a seemingly painstaking, yet nearly effortless way.

Shish kabobs are an easy way to create a full meal by combining hearty meat, with healthy veggies. Alternate your favorite meats or seafood with juicy tomatoes, onions, bell peppers – anything your heart desires! If you’re one of those people whose first thought is “burgers” when someone mentions “barbeque”, grilling veggies on the side is a good alternative. My favorites to grill are corn on the cob, asparagus, eggplant and large shitake mushrooms.

Lastly, I really enjoy a cold, crisp, lightly spicy salsa during the summertime. A friend of mine once told me about a fun idea for the grill that allows me to eat a delicious mango or pineapple salsa with something other than chips – quesadillas! Grilling not only allows you and your friends to be outside, taking in the beautiful weather, but it’s a fun spin for a summer get together.

What are some of your favorite things to grill?

Monday, July 13, 2009

AileyCamp is a summer dance camp that provides inner city children between grades six and eight with the opportunity to “use dance as a vehicle for developing self-esteem, self-discipline, creative expression and critical thinking skills.” What I love about this program is that it gives children a sense of themselves. The mantra that the AileyCamp lives by is that there is no such thing as the word can’t. I had the pleasure of meeting Nasha Thomas-Schmitt, the Co-Director of Arts in Education as well as the National Director of the AileyCamp. She said something to me that is so profound that I will never forget. One of Nasha’s rules and wisdoms that she gives to these children is that there is no such word as “can’t”. Can’t means one of two things: either I do not know please teach me, or, I am afraid please help me. The word “can’t” simply doesn’t exist. Furthermore, I believe that the most beautiful expression of the soul is done via dance. This program is so special and provides for children one of the most valuable lessons of being able to express your individuality and to be yourself!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I love to run. It’s the easiest way for me to clear my head after a long day, or to brainstorm about an upcoming project. I also love to take Sammy on long walks when the sun is out.

Whether you are getting in shape for a marathon, enjoy a nice jog or bike ride, or just like to take a leisurely stroll, grab a friend and roam the city! is a great site – it measures the distance of your route, and suggests new routes if you’re bored with your current one. Sammy and I both like it for help in finding new places to take our walks. Below are several parks and areas in the city so you can get up and go!

- Central Park: anywhere between 59th and 110th street. You can walk around the paved walkways throughout the park. If you are up for the challenge, you could run the park’s 6.2 mile exterior.
- East River Loop: whether you are coming from the Upper East Side or down in the East Village, you can get to any part of the East River.
- Hudson River: For those on the West Side, the Hudson River not only has beautiful views, but also has a long path that goes directly along the Hudson with benches to rest on, grass to catch some sun, and even small parks along the way.
- Short Strolls: Take advantage of one of the city’s many parks! Washington Square Park’s half-mile perimeter could be perfect if you are with your dog or pushing a baby stroller. Walking around Battery Park and the Ferry Terminal will give you views of the Statue of Liberty, and is nearly a mile all the way around!