Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Thank you so much for reading my blog and following me on my creative journey.

2009 was a great transition for me. It may sound silly but fulfilling my goal of moving back to New York was the highlight of the year!! (although technically we moved back at the end of 2008) Being able to be back home and reconnect with all of my friends and family has meant everything to me.

I now live in the same building as my sister and her family so our kids get to play and develop close relationships on a daily basis. My mom is only about 5 minutes away also, so they get to see Grandma all the time as well.

Even though I would much prefer to be living right smack in the middle of Manhattan again, at least I know it's only an 18 minute drive away to the west side and I can get my fix whenever I want. I know that NOTHING can drag me out of New York again! It's a relationship I'm just not willing to compromise on. :)

I have some fun plans in store for Total City Girl including a new website design, new blog design and making it more of a community for other "city girls" out there.

I'll also be working hard to add more items to my ETSY shop, and sharing with you more creative cake and cupcake designs that will hopefully inspire you to be more creative as well. I will also start posting recipes again. I love sharing with you food that I make for my family.

I have a fun resolution, or challenge (whatever you want to call it) to myself that I'll share with you in the next few days. Here's a little hint in the meantime:


I would love to hear what you have planned for yourself for this coming year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Map, Schmap!

Let's say you're visiting NY and you're looking for some fun activities to do.

How about checking out a zoo? The Bronx Zoo in particular.

Need to get some extra info to plan your trip? Forget your traditional map. Try a Schmap!

What's a Schmap you say?

It's a fun online guide that gives you tons of info including maps, reviews and photos. Which brings me to my point. Yes, there is a method to my madness.


If you go to and look for Bronx Zoo, this is what you'll find:


Do you see that photo? How could you miss it?!? I purposely circled it in purple so there wouldn't be any confusion.

It''s one of mine!! (of course there are other photos, but we're talking about mine right now) How excited was I when I received an e-mail from Schmap saying that they'd like to include my photo in their newly released edition of the Schmap New York Guide!!

There's even a mobile version so if you have an iPhone, you can still check it out. It'll look something like this:


There's even a link to my flickr account which takes you directly to my photo.


No - I'm NOT getting paid to tell you this, or even for my photo. I just thought it was so cool that someone wanted to use one of my photos for something!

Yes, it's these little things in life that make me happy.

That, and dill pickle potato chips.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bowling Party

Last week my nephew turned 4. He's a Christmas Baby, which to many people may seem like the most special day of the year. Unless of course, if you're Jewish. Then it's just a day dedicated to going to the movies and eating Chinese food - which isn't a bad thing.

Unless it's your birthday.


Poor kid never gets to have his party on his actual birthday. No one is around. So this year, it was on Christmas Eve day, right before the holiday rush.

My sister wanted to surprise him with a bowling party and I of course was in charge of the cake (or in this case, cupcakes) and party favors. I had to make them extra cute to try to win him over. We'll always have a special bond (even though he doesn't know it yet) because I came up with his name. He doesn't like me though. Maybe after this he will.

I had a lot of fun coming up with cute bowling designs for him.

I'll start off with the cupcakes.

His favorite color is blue so I had to somehow incorporate blue into the design. I started by making cupcake toppers with blue circles and I found bowling clipart and personalized it with his name.

I baked up a batch of lemon vanilla cupcakes and when they cooled, the fun decorating part began!

I decided to tint the icing (buttercream) the same color as the blue in the cupcake topper. I also wanted to make little bowling pins and bowling balls to go on top of the cupcakes. Nothing is too cute for my nephew.

Using fondant, I first molded the pins. Once the bowling pins were dry, I added the red lines using edible marker.


While the pins were drying, I started on the bowling balls


I have to say, I think they came out so cute!!



I was just hoping my sister and more importantly, my nephew would like them also.


There's the smile! "Wow, I have the best aunt!"



Next on the list was to design the party favors. The main attraction to the goodie bags were these personalized chocolate bars.


They were perfect since they coordinated with the whole bowling theme. I customized the wrapper with a personalized message on the front and each kid's name on the back.


My sister had a few extra items she wanted to include so I made up goodie bags with the 3 items, and created a bag topper with bowling themed cardstock.


The whole event was a success. I think I hit a strike with this one!

Oh don't worry little one, your birthday is next!


I'm making a lion cake for you. Unlike your brother, I don't even need to score points with you.

You already love me.

Right?!? Right?!?

Snap Happy In Columbus Circle

Yesterday I was able to escape to the city BY MYSELF for a few hours just to hang with my friend Pam, walk around leisurely, shop and have some lunch. A perfect afternoon.

I even decided to drive in. This is major for me! I normally NEVER drive in and always take the subway. I have to say, I LOVE the subway. Cheap, fast and easy. Always works for me! Today however, I knew our time was limited and I had to get down there rather quickly. Even quicker than a subway. So, I braved it and drove down. 18 minutes later, I was where I needed to be.

My "city girl" friends and I all have one major thing in common - we don't like to drive. Which is funny considering I lived in Florida for a while (still can't believe it) and had to drive at least 2 hours a day. We'll do anything to avoid it. Subway, bus, taxi, walk, bike - you name it. As long as it doesn't involve getting behind the wheel, we'll do it.

Normally the parking lots in the city are outrageous! I did however discover this really cheap lot on 62nd off of West End Avenue. I used to refer to it as "the $12 lot". I think it's the only place that is actually lowering their prices rather than raising them. Today it was $10 for 12 hours!

It is now officially "the $10 lot".

Of course I had my camera with me so I thought I'd share some random shots of the day.

We wanted to go to the holiday market at Columbus Circle but when we got there, we discovered there was no market. Must have ended right after XMAS. so instead we started out at Williams-Sonoma. UH! I just love this store!!

Look at this great mixer. I have one in black but as soon as it goes, I'm definitely buying this green one.


I liked this display also.


I think they were even on sale.

Then some random shots from walking around.




Hey Taxi!






I'll be back down on Wednesday. This time with my girls.

Do I dare drive in again? My MetroCard might get jealous.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

First Big Snow In NYC

Last night the news kept saying there was going to be a big snowstorm overnight. Well, they were right! When my girls woke up, this is what they saw outside


I love how trees look with snow on the branches.

You know what snow means, right?!? Time to break out the sleds! Good thing I bought the girls snow boots yesterday. Good mom.

Too bad I forgot the snow gloves. Bad mom.

So, we head over to our nearby park and get ready for some fun. I figure the hubbs can handle the sleds while I handle my camera. Someone's gotta capture these moments, right?!?

Ready, set, go!


"This is fun!"




"Hey, where'd my sled go?"


"Beats me."


"Got it!"


One time down was enough for them. Time to build a snowman.


Or in this case, snowhead.


Good thing they came prepared - chick peas for the eyes, carrots for the nose and string beans for the... mustache?!? What happened to the nose? Guess they got hungry.

In an extra whiny voice I hear "We want to go home. Our hands are freezing!"


Like I said before, bad mom.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stylist Suggests Headbands As A Holiday Gift

I just read an article online in the Los Angeles Times Entertainment section that I found very interesting!!

Hollywood stylist Tara Swennen is suggesting embellished headbands as a great holiday gift. I have to say, I totally agree with her!

This is what she said:
-- Accessories: Whether it be a satin clutch, a sequined beanie, a jeweled belt or an embellished headband, accessories are great gifts, as sizing is generally not required. Knit scarves and gloves are also safe bets during the holiday season.
To see the rest of the article, click here.

It just so happens, I posted some new headband designs on my ETSY shop. Here's a couple:

Skinny Minnie


and the wide version


packaged in organza gift bags


If you want to check out the others, pop on over to the TCG ETSY Shop.

Happy Headbands!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gift Show Pics

This past Saturday I did my last holiday gift show at my daughter's school in Riverdale. It was a very festive event - music playing, great holiday decorations, fun activities for the kids, lots of snacks, and great vendors.

Wanted to share some pics of my display. I had an assortment of items.

Accordion photo books,




gift tags, soapy pops, and sparkly accessories. It's funny how for each show you never know what's going to be the popular item. This time it was the headbands, another time it was the books. Keeps me on my toes!



I decided not to show the personalized chocolate bars this time. Just not enough room on my table!

There were a few other vendors that stood out that I wanted to mention.

Sam Noronha - great original framed artwork using alcohol ink.

Besides being a fine artist, she's also a craft artist. She makes magnets and necklaces out of dominos. She had a cute little penguin that I couldn't resist. My little one LOVES penguins!


At these shows there's always a ton of jewelry vendors. There was a woman there named Rina S. Young. Her sterling silver jewelry really stood out from the crowd.

She made every piece! Amazing!! You can find some of her beautiful creations online at Artful Home.

Turns out she's also a city girl. I knew I liked her.

Friday, December 11, 2009

PS 24 Holiday Gift & Craft Fair

I can't believe it's already here, but this Saturday is the last holiday gift & craft fair I'll be doing for the season.

Here's the flyer:

So, if you just happen to be in Riverdale, looking for an activity for your kids, or just want to get out...or want to see ME, stop by!!

I'll have my stylin' headbands, cool photo books, personalized chocolate bars, soapy pops, purse keychains and more!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Wednesday Night In The City

Last night I was supposed to attend a Learning Annex class in the city. After trekking down there by subway, almost about a minute after reaching street level, I get a call from the hubbs saying they cancelled the class!!

Yes, I was a bit annoyed. I was really looking forward to the class. But hey, I was STILL in the city, right?!? Gotta make the best of it. :)

Move on to Plan B.

My friend asked me to pick up a few things for her at the AmericanGirl store. There's one on 5th Avenue so that was going to be my first stop. That store is huge!!! All I can say is I am soooo glad my girls haven't discovered these dolls yet. Let's hope the Barbie phase lasts a while longer. Like years!!

Next stop Pinky's Salon on 6th Avenue to get my eyebrows threaded. 7 bucks. 2 minutes. Done.

Then I met my friend Justin and we ended up going to the Bryant Park Holiday Market. I was there last week but just had to go back. I LOVE it!!! Please please please if you are in the city this holiday, you MUST stop by!! The atmosphere is so festive! You can even go ice skating and it won't break the bank - only about $12 or so.

We headed right over to the Max Brenner booth. This is also a must!! We each had a cup of their thick Italian Hot Chocolate. It was INSANE!!!! We both stopped after the first sip and just looked at each other. All we could say was "whoa!!"

This was chocolate that had to be sipped s l o w l y. You have to savor every little drop. You can feel the thick warm chocolate making it's way throughout your body - just warming up your insides. So delicious!!

You know how I love packaging? Well, they had this product that I thought was so creative. It was a chocolate syringe!! Really - a big plastic syringe filled with melted chocolate so each time you need a fix, you squirt a shot in your mouth.

Pure genius.

Well, that was my Wednesday night.

Oh yeah, except for the part where afterwards he also took me to a friend's holiday office party. I know the friend, but I wasn't invited.

Does that officially make me a party crasher??

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter Wonderland Gift Tags

I have my last holiday craft show of the season coming up this Saturday December 12th here in Riverdale. I always get a burst of creativity just before each event. It's a good time to showcase something new.

As I may have mentioned before, I have a little problem. Actually, it may not be that little anymore. It seems to be growing and growing by the minute.

I am completely obsessed with paper and ribbon!!

There - I said it. It's all out in the open now.

Yes, I know, weird right?!? Not chocolate, or food, or alcohol, or shoes.

Paper and ribbon.

That's what does it for me. I have soooo much and I can't stop myself from getting more. I'll give you a peak at some of my stash but let me tell you - this is a teeny tiny snippet of what I actually have. I can't show you everything. It's just too soon in our relationship. We're still in that La-La stage. Let's wait till we get a little more comfortable with each other. Then forget it, all my secrets will start flowing out. For now, this is all you get.



and ribbon.



I just can't take it.

So, since I was looking around at my mounds of paper, I decided to make something new. I started making some really sweet gift tags. I love packaging and making things look special. I can't help it. It's in my blood. I may not have a gift basket biz anymore, but I can't seem to tear myself away from packaging.

I have some wintry themed paper with cool colors of blue and green. Each set comes with 5 different designs.



I think I may bring some with me to the gift fair this Saturday. I also added some to my ETSY shop.

If you're in the Riverdale area on Saturday, stop by and say hello!

Here's the info:

Holiday Gift & Craft Fair
660 West 236th Street
Riverdale, NY 10463
Saturday December 12th - noon to 4pm
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