Monday, March 24, 2008

Plausible Excuses

Fear not faithful blog friends, I have not abandoned my posts...just got sidetracked with a bunch of things- whether or not these are good enough excuses to have not blogged is obviously a subjective matter. Now to proceed with the sharing of excuses!

Excuse #1:
I was throwing a bridal shower for my bff, JK.
This is a pretty good excuse because it took a bit of work to execute the party and all the minute details which I decided on at the last minute- triflings like making marzipan flowers at midnight for the green tea cupcakes that I had baked for the shower...also let me not forget to mention that it took three batches before my VCTOW green tea cupcakes came out properly (Isa does warn us about the amount of moisture that varies in soy yogurt brands- well Wildwood definitely made my cupcakes too moist- they ballooned & then sank. Really yummy, but super wrinkled upon deflation.) They turned out pretty damn cute...and I happened to have a matching pale green tray to house them.

The bride's wedding invites were pale green with pink ribbon, so I carried the them throughout- with the green tea cupcakes & also with the shower favors. I made a cd of fun songs and found a fab green scalloped label online. You customize the label with all your songs, etc and they mail them out to you. Then you stick them carefully onto the cd and then proceed to tie pink ribbons & hot glue gun them to the envelope- those turned out pretty damn cute too I'd say. I am grateful for the bride's sister-in-law's help. She threw the shower with me and was very helpful during the cd making! Here's a shot of the favors, cupcakes, a little purple book of polaroids of the guests & their well wishes for the bride and the collage of different pics of the bride over the years was a game where everyone had to guess the year of each pic....

I was able to find a really nice Chinese restaurant that served dim sum. Most places in Chinatown that serve dim sum are super crowded, service at a nil, noisy and the decor leaving much to be desired. I totally lucked out when I found Shanghai Pavilion on the Upper Eastside. The place was really nice, food was good and the service great. I had the menu planned in advance and was able to secure some mock duck, vegetable dumplings and fried veggie rice noodles in addition to the omni dim sum menu.
Here's one of the guests writing his heartfelt wishes (in neon bright crayola markers) for the bride, next to the polaroid that I took of each guest as they came in...

I am not one for cheesy bridal shower games, nor is the bride, but I understand that games break the ice especially when people do not know each, I tried to come up with games that were fun and where people also got to learn more about the bride & groom. We played a game where I got answers from the groom beforehand and then we tested the bride to see if she knew the answers, but the game was in that the guests had to guess whether or not the bride would know the answer. That was fun!

I also put one of these little cute characters under each plate. As everyone finished eating, all had to lift up their plates and see which was underneath- angelic little Cinmaroll or mischievous little penguin. Depending on which character, each person had to turn to the person next to them and share either good story about the bride or a mischievous one. People were all angling to get the bad little penguin of course!

That big smile on my face means finally having some fun after all the planning, baking and marzipan flower making is done...

Excuse #2:
I agreed to produce a 2 day location shoot on an extremely limited budget. Not the most ideal way to work, but hopefully, we get the campaign and all our hard work for a seriously discounted rate will be worth it.

We started on what turned out to be the windiest Sunday of the year- the winds were no joke and of course we were down on Wall St, near the tip of the island where all the winds going at a million miles an hr in every direction converged. Every single trash receptacle had been blown over. As we shot at Bowling Green, we saw a food cart vendor's umbrella blow dangerously down the street, threateningly to seriously impale someone- thankfully, it was caught.

I'm glad I wasn't a cheapskate producer and did not skimp- I paid for a location van and we really needed it. The wind turned brisk weather into freezing conditions. We could climb back into that van fast enough...

Don't ever think that models don't work their behinds off. See this skinny little girl below- she has no bodyfat and her outfit was not warm, which means she was freezing her butt off while still holding her pose and looking pretty & natural while the wind whipped down the streets. See how everyone has a hat or hood on? It was ridiculously cold. Poor girl was a real trooper and a professional- not a peep out of her or maybe she was just so beyond cold she couldn't even complain.

This shot was a little better because she was in the sun at least. But this did take longer because we were right on Wall St. by the NY Stock Exchange which was swarming with tourists of all shapes and sizes and they were all very interested in our shoot- to the point where they were either totally in the shot and even right behind the photographer, trying to look through his lens...crazy.

But we do appreciate the money that tourism brings to our city, so I am ever thankful but firm when I ask them get out of the shot...

I thought the second day would be better because we would be down by Tribeca, but of course our location happened to have construction & a giant cement truck next to it. Our speedy photographer made due and got the shot done in record time before they started the cement making... that wheelbarrow was not out prop, nor the dirty muddy water...

Here our other intrepid model - we were all freezing up on the rooftop because the winds were still whipping, less so, but still damn cold, yet our guy still managed to climb up near the water tower and face the elements...water towers are so quintessentially NYC, you'd be surprised how much some of these buildings want to charge you for shooting on their unfinished roof...a few were $5000 - $8000, I guess that too is only in NY.

Excuse #3:
I was checking out Cafe Blossom on the Upper West Side with a friend.
And boy was it good!

We were in the neighborhood for a screening of The Other Boyleyn Girl (which was throughly entertaining, but I tiny bit distracted trying to figure out if Natalie Portman - my fav veg actress was actually wearing real fur or faux in the her costumes...). I have yet to go to Blossom in Chelsea but they recently opened Cafe Blossom and I checked it out with an omni friend.

She had the tofu salad which was one of the tastiest salads ever. My omni friend declared that she would definitely come across the park (from the Upper East Side to Upper West Side, one goes through Central Park) just for the salad alone! The tofu was tender & delicate with a nice smoky grilled flavor and the seaweed mixed into the salad was just delicious.

I had lentils wrapped in phyllo pastry with a red pepper coulis- I thought mine was really good, which it was, but the tofu salad was actually even better.

We had a lemon cake & a chocolate cake- chocolate was the way to go- it was moist & perfect.

Am ready to get back to Cafe Blossom sooner than later!

Cafe Blossom 466 Columbus Avenue (bet 82nd & 83rd Sts) NYC 10024

Excuse #4:
There's been a lot of eating going on.

Follow Your Heart Mozzarella (so good for melting!) on bread from Balthazar bakery with tempeh bacon & cherry tomatoes...
Trade Joe's Beefless Strips sauteed with mushrooms & onions on a tortilla...

Pasta with veggies & FYH mozzarella....
Grandma brought me smoked tofu (a Chinese restaurant in Flushing sells it as mock chicken) which I had with steamed kale, quinoa, corn & cashews.

Fcat made vegan Cuban black beans with rice.

And Fcat's yummy peppers with garlic crostini and argula salad with green apples.

Fcat's delicious lentil soup.

I had some left over vanilla cupcakes from the shower which goes well with vanilla soy cream & strawberries.

Excuse #5:
I took a Reiki 2 workshop one weekend and having learned now in Reiki 2 how to do long-distance absentee healing, have been doing long-distance healing for a ton of people from my sister, SKO in Florida to the a nice kid that works at the Apple store downtown that I got into a conversation with- most people experiencing heat or seeing color/visions, but some just feeling a sense of calm & peace afterwards. Reiki helps to unblock stagnant energy; I liken it to an energy massage.

I love to give reiki as much as people love to receive. It dawned on me the other day that I could do reiki for charity. So if anyone would like to try a long-distance reiki healing session (it requires 15-20 minutes of quiet time), please email me or leave me your email in a comment so that we can schedule a session and you will tell me what the intent of your healing request is (what you would like the reiki energy to support- anything from relief from stress or back pain, to specific goals etc) and I will ask that you make a $5-10 donation to the animal charity (The McKee Project that helps starving strays) that I am raising money for- the link button through FirstGiving is on the top right of my blog. Check it out and get some soothing reiki and give back to help strays at the same time!

So, those are my excuses and I'm sticking to them-

Well, until next time my friends which I hope to be sooner than later...

Have a great week!


VeggieGirl said...

you are definitely forgiven for not posting in a while - look at all you've been up to! kudos on hosting such a lovely shower for your friend; on being in charge of a phenomenal photo shoot; on eating delicious foods (I MUST check out Cafe Blossom - and have you cook for me, haha); and on taking that Reiki 2 class. it's always best to stay busy and have fun!! :0)

Vegan_Noodle said...

You have been one busy girl! What an amazing shower you hosted. The favors are so thoughtful and I love how you kept the color scheme going even with the cupcakes!! I tried to convince my mom to make those for my shower, they decided to buy some instead (still need to make them someday!)
And wow, that wind sounds crazy! Photo shoots definitely sounds glamorous, but in real life I realize they aren't!
And oh my, Cafe blossom is definitely on my must visit list when I get to nyc this summer!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Sounds like good excuses to me! My excuse is I'm in Europe!
Such a cute spread for the shower, the cupcakes are darling!
Totally agree about models working their little booties off! I can't tell you how many times we've shot in the always cold ocean with swimsuits & models end up with blue toes!
Also, your meals look awesome! I love that little cupcake with the mound of strawberries!

Clementine & Mandarin said...

Have I thanked you from the bottom of my heart for the beautiful shower? Everything was purrrrfect and just absolutely gorgeous! I couldn't have asked for a better shower. You and Chris did such a phenomenal job!!!!!! Many meow thank yous!

Hey VKO-you have become quite the cook. All the dishes looks so dericious. You and F-Cat are making some great vegan dishes, it's making me hungry, real hungry! Seriously, I can't look at those pictures this week, it's making my stomach growl. I'll take a closer look next week :-)

Let's break my fast next week with Cafe Blossom!

I love that you're spreading some reiki around for a great cause. Sign me up! Let's discuss details :-)

Meows you rater!

Rural Vegan said...

Wow, those are some excellent (and tasty looking) excuses! I love the matching CDs and cupcakes for the bridal shower, how thoughtful of you!

Urban Vegan said...

Those are all good--and interesting--excuses You are quite the accomplished party planner. (I guess it's easy after doing all those complex, multinational photo shoots, right?!)Those ideas are tons of fun!

Right on for reiki. I will hit you up again when I get back from Mexico...what a great cause! You are so mart and so wonderful.

Tell Fcat that, at his recommendation, we're going to try Trader Joe's flax pasta tonite. Yum, yum.

Talk soon, I hope.

Billy said...

Wow, lots of good food.

Thanks for the comment on my blog post on my vegan cookies.

I've added you to my vegan blogroll!

Cakespy said...

SO much goodness here--the repurposing of cupcakes as impromptu shortcakes...the green tea cupcakes that corresponded with the invites...and the naughty penguins!! Love it! Actually I have to say I am impressed by the follow-through to make even the cupcakes correspond to the invites! Beautiful, and you're back with a vengeance--easy to see why you haven't posted in a while!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

As usual, I don't know what to comment on first! Your life is so busy. Cafe Blossom has been on my to-try list for a while, so hopefully next time I'm in NYC, I can go.

The green tea cupcakes are too cute, as are you!

BitterSweet said...

Those are all some pretty good excuses if you ask me! And I'm seriously envious of your job, recent eats- It all sounds wonderful!

kindkitchen said...

You are such a sweetheart for hosting such a wonderful shower for your friend! Those cupcakes are pretty much the cuuutest thing eva.

Theresa said...

I think those are great excuses, and you took photos as proof, so it's even more believable. I was expecting "boo boo ate my homework"!

Gorgeous cupcakes and shower favours, and the food that you eat! Wow!

Gnewvegan said...

Life definately gets busy.. I try my best to blog as often as I can as well on my site. The shower looked like it turned out to be a great one.. You models are troopers to storm the wind.. And the food looks delic.. I am glad you are continuing with the reiki. I will be going to another session soon and this time I think I will give the reiki to the group members. You have the option to give or receive.. I did it the other day on someone and not only were my hands hot but I was starting to feel hot.. It is an amazing experience.

CWrites said...

I LOVE your blog!! I came across it checking out Urban Vegan (another favorite)! I'm new to vegan blogging so I'm just trying to connect with some like minded individuals. My boyfriend and I just launched our blog It's new so bear with us.

He and I just recently moved from NYC and reading your blog makes me a little nostalgic. Also, I knew I had to write you because, I lived in College Point, all the way down College Point Blvd and 5th. I was a Main Street subway and Q25 bus rider! I'll be making a visit up there in May and I can't wait!

Rebecca said...

Hi V! J's shower was so lovely, you really did a wonderful job and those cupcakes were soooo yummy. And if I didn't tell you then, the flowers were beautiful and I loved the game with the pictures. So fun seeing the bride as a babe!

Hope to see you more often. :)

Cheers - Rebecca

the bulgarian said...

Well I was going to leave an angry comment today because I have been waiting for a while for a new post, but to my suprise you did post- and lots of wonderful pictures. I actually want to go to the Blossom Cafe since me and my mother will be staying on the west side when we go (soon!) to NYC. I am definatelly hiring you and your little sister to plan my bridal shower, I hope you will go though that again in 15 years! It seemed soo cute- I liked the evil penguin...intersting.
And I am sorry you have to hear about SKOs and my college freakouts :)

Wheeler's Frozen Dessert said...

Hi again!
Just wanted to pass on this information ...

Boston Magazine recently published an article all about us this month - here is the link:

Oh Soy Tasty!

If you have a few minutes to spare, could do us a huge favor and read the article and comment at the bottom of the page? We're very excited about getting such great press, especially from a magazine of this caliber. If everyone drops by and leaves a quick comment, soon there will be no doubt in any publisher's mind: YES, readers absolutely do want to know about vegan happenings and developments. Please don't hesitate to repost the article on your blog and spread the world!

Emily @ Wheeler's Frozen Desserts

Caitlin said...

Cafe Blossom sounds to die for! And I agree with some of these other posts- you made my stomach growl with those pictures of your cooking- I need to learn your skills!

amy said...

the cupcakes look cute and I'm jealous, I want to have a vegan cafe too... everthing looks so yummy!

laura jesser said...

Wow, you've really been up to a lot! First off, all that food looks amazing!! Second off, way to go on the shower--my sister is getting married soon and so these are all good ideas for me. And the green tea cupcakes are probably still my favorite!

stonielove said...

wow you've been very busy! i'd love to visit cafe blossom when i visit nyc!

the little one said...

As everyone else has said, excellent excuses! Nice idea to give reiki for charity.

Katia said...

Hi, I am a relatively recent vegan and just stumbled upon your blog. Congratulations. You inspire me to start a blog myself (I will probably start with a post of excuses as to why I haven't done it earlier).
I have always been interested in Reiki, so would definitely like to sign up: gecheva2000"at"

bazu said...

I've missed you, VKO! Never fear about having excuses- you can only post when you are up for it, you know? And I'd say your excuses are pretty damn good ones. (and delicious!) I loved peaking into your friend's shower- you did such a wonderful job! You made all those marzipan flowers yourself??? Please tell me you at least had some help! (Can you tell I'm not one for detail work?)


monkeybaker said...

ok of all that just looks SOOOO delicious!

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