Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Today Show - Accessorize To Perfection

Not sure if you caught the Today Show today but on the Style section, they had a segment on how to Accessorize To Perfection. They showed how to take the same black dress and have it go from a day at the office, to lunch with some friends, to out on the town in the evening.

The thing that really caught my eye was that they suggested HEADBANDS for 2 of the looks!!

For the lunch look they used a red headband

and for the evening look they swapped out to a black headband.

You can watch the segment here.

I like! I like!

If you want to accessorize to perfection, check out some of the Total City Girl headbands on our Etsy Shop.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Lion Cake

Last week was my other nephew's birthday which means that I was on cake duty again. YAY!!

He's such a happy baby. He turned one. Can't believe it went so fast already!

For his birthday celebration I was asked to make a lion cake. I thought about doing a sculpted cake covered in fondant but my week was pretty busy and I never made it to the store to get more fondant. Since my time was limited I opted for a sheet cake decorated with buttercream icing. I found a picture of a lion that I liked online, drew it on a piece of paper and then redrew it with icing onto the cake.

The colors didn't come out exactly as I planned but I still liked it.


My 6 year old daughter asked "why isn't the lion yellow Mama?"


Hmmm, I thought. I don't know. Are all lions supposed to be yellow? I guess when you've been to Disney a hundred times, you're main point of reference is Simba. Gotta start making more trips to The Bronx Zoo!!

Well, good thing the cake wasn't for her. It was for this little guy and he seemed to like it.


Too bad he never got to blow out his own candles. Not with these two around.


Hey buddy, I seem to remember you having a birthday not too long ago. Uh, just a couple of weeks ago as a matter of fact.


And what about you little girl - yours is just a few months away in April. Be patient!


You'll get your Spongebob cake soon enough.

Friday, January 8, 2010

ETSY Love In The Bronx

It's Friday which means we've come to the end of our discussion on The Bronx. I told you about two locations that I thought were definitely worth mentioning - Arthur Avenue and Wave Hill. Today, we're not going to talk about places of interest, but instead, people of interest.

As I was doing some work on my ETSY shop, I decided to browse around a bit. On ETSY there's an option to "shop local". I was curious to see if there were other sellers in The Bronx. I came across quite a list! There were a few in particular that really caught my eye.

Ummashin’s Goodies

I absolutely love love love this one!! Besides her hats being so cute, the photography for this shop is amazing as well. All of the items are hand crocheted by a Bronx "mama". I love the blue and brown combination of the one in the picture and I saw another one in pink and brown. Uh! I have a weakness for pink and brown!! For more info on this great shop, click here.

Next up, Cutiepiecompany

When I saw cutiepiecompany, I just had to stop and take a look. Besides her name being so cute, her site is all about papercrafts, and you know how I just looooove papercrafts! In her shop she has journals, notecards, gift tags as well as original art. The Lady In Red shown above is one of her moleskine cahiers journals. For more info on cutiepiecompany, click here.

If you like soaps, you'll definitely have to check out this next one - Good Enough To Eat Natural Products

The name alone for this soap is a complete attention grabber - crunch-a-bunch bar. This soap combines a light sweet smell of banana and the richest of Organic Granola. I don't know if I want to wash with it, or just eat it! Sounds like a perfect breakfast to me! For more info on Good Enough To Eat Natural Products , click here.

If you haven't had a chance to check out Total City Girl's ETSY shop (that would be me),

you can take a look over here or there's a link on the right sidebar of this blog.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Outer Borough Experience - The Bronx, Part II

Yesterday I gave you a little insight into an area in The Bronx known as Arthur Avenue. If you're a foodie, definitely put it on your list of places to go.

Today we switch gears and talk about some culture going on in The Bronx. Culture and The Bronx in one sentence? Yes, it really does exist!

There's a hidden gem located right along the Hudson River in the Riverdale section of The Bronx known as Wave Hill.


What is Wave Hill you ask?

It's a lot of things to a lot of people.

If you're an artist, it's a place to go to paint and draw.

If you're a photographer, it's a place that has spectacular views and lots of opportunities to refine your nature photography.

If you're a soon-to-be bride, it's a perfect venue to have your wedding.

And, if you're a parent, it's a place that offers a fun, inexpensive cultural activity to do with your kids on the weekends. So versatile!

Quite a few weekends when we don't want to go too far, but we know we have to get the girls out of the apartment before they either

A - zone out from watching too much TV

B - fight over something as insignificant as empty toilet paper rolls ( I swear, I'm not kidding you)


C - make a giant mess of the place (which means more clean up for me - and that's just not going to happen!)

we ask "Who wants to go to Wave Hill?" Fortunately they answer with "we do!"

What's good about Wave Hill is we can all get something out of it.

The hubbs (he's an artist by the way) will either bring a sketchbook so he can draw,


or his easel so he can paint.

Wave Hill Painting by Tony Santo

Ooooh! Nice job!

The girls get to participate in the Family Art Project - a different art workshop for kids held every weekend. My sister and her kids usually come with us so that makes it even more fun for everyone.

One weekend, the theme was water so they got to sketch by the frog pond,



and run around the sprinklers. I think that was their favorite part!



Another time they painted with colors from nature using berries, leaves, and whatever else they found ON THE GROUND. No picking anything off the trees!!


So busted baby!!


They get exposed to lots of different media,


and get to make a big old mess in someone else's territory. Love that!


I of course bring my camera and photograph everything!




lots of trees,




the frog pond,




the extensive gardens,






and of course the beautiful scenery.



Even this. I think it looks like a hippo. What do you think?


Then we usually head on over to the little outdoor cafe where the girls like to eat lunch,


and cupcakes! Nice sharing!


They like to work off their lunch by running around the grounds and playing frisbee


until we found out you're not allowed to play frisbee. Woops!

By this time, they're done. We pack up our things and head on out.


I especially like Wave Hill in the Fall and Spring but each season has something special to offer.

For more info on Wave Hill, you can check out their website.

To continue our Bronx theme, tomorrow I'll be featuring some artisits I found on ETSY that also happen to be in The Bronx. The Bronx should be looking pretty good by now!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Outer Borough Experience - The Bronx, Part I

As a city girl, I think it's important to learn about different parts of the city you love, not just the ones you're used to. Yes, I can go on and on about all the great things there are to do in Manhattan (and believe me, I will) but I thought it would be fun to let you in on a couple of things going on in the outer boroughs. So, for the next 3 days, I'll be taking you to "Da Bronx".

Why The Bronx you ask? Well, let's see...

I grew up in The Bronx.

After college, I moved back home, to The Bronx.

After living on the west side of Manhattan for years (yes, I miss you too) and moving back from F-F-F-Florida (eeek), I ended up back in Riverdale, which is also in The Bronx.

So, The Bronx it is.

This week was my brother-in-law's birthday so one night we were all having dinner together and the topic of his birthday, and more specifically, his CAKE came up. You have to know my brother-in-law. He is very, very, VERY particular about his food!!! My sister mentioned she wanted to make him his favorite dessert - tiramisu.

At first, his eyes lit up with excitement.

Then after about a minute, his crazy pickiness set in. That didn't take too long.

"OK, but you know, I like it a certain way. I don't like it with too much cake, and the cream has to be a certain way, and what kind of coffee are you going to use and..." Blah blah blah, on and on and on.

My sister and I just looked at each other and said "fuh getta bout it!!" (yes, sometimes The Bronx in us does slip out)

So, the next day we decided to head on over to Arthur Avenue. We'll definitely be able to find tiramisu there!! The question is, will he like it?

If you're a Food Network fan, you've more than likely heard and seen it mentioned on quite a few of their shows. It's a small Italian section of The Bronx, known for all of their great food.

When we first approach, we see they still had their holiday decorations up. It struck us both odd to see a menorah hanging up since it is such a predominantly Italian neighborhood.

arthur ave-1

But then again, it is NY, right?!?

This area is still old world - nothing modern about it. The streets are lined with lots of little markets and restaurants.

arthur ave-2

arthur ave-3

Everyone seems to know each other also. The people living and working there have very heavy Bronx accents and then the next minute they switch to fluent Italian. It almost feels like you've stepped into a Godfather movie. (one of my favorites! - Part I and II, of course)

We have certain stores we like to hit up when we're there. Our "favorites".

Our first stop is Madonia Bakery where they have the BEST olive bread!

arthur ave-4

arthur ave-5

I'm telling you, this thing is LOADED with olives!! Not just a little here and there, but every bite!

arthur ave-20

And, it's only $5. Cash only please.

They have lots of different breads and cookies, but this is our olive bread place.

arthur ave-6

arthur ave-7

Next we head over to Teitel Brothers. - a small Italian market (ironically owned by Jews, hence the menorah)

arthur ave-13

arthur ave-12

jam packed with lots of Italian meats, cheeses, fresh pasta from Italy and tons of other delicacies.

arthur ave-10

arthur ave-11

arthur ave-9

My usuals here are fresh mozzarella, freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano, olives, pine nuts, pasta and canned San Marzano tomatoes. They calculate how much you owe them by adding it up on a paper bag. Once in a while they'll break out the calculator.

There was a couple there that stopped by on their way back to Florida! It's becoming very touristy. I probably looked like a tourist as well with my big ol' camera hanging around my neck!

Then we head back to this big indoor market. I don't even know the name of it but it is close to Madonia Bakery and it doesn't look like much from the outside but when you go in, there are lots of smaller open markets in one. This is where we go to get our veggies.

arthur ave-18

This place to me, in particular, is a trip! When you walk in you feel like you've stepped back at least 60 years. You can picture your grandparents shopping here. There's even a guy rolling out cigars!

arthur ave-17

Our next stop, and the main reason we came here was to another bakery down the block called De Lillo Pastry Shop. This is where we get our sweets.

arthur ave-14

It's also a very narrow bakery with cakes in one case, then the pastries, then cookies.

arthur ave-15

arthur ave-16

Score! We found it! Tiramisu! They even had chocolate mousse cake, his second favorite, so we got a portion of each. I couldn't leave without getting something for my family so I got the mini cannolis and the rainbow cookies. You know the ones - kind of cake-like with different colored layers and has a marzipan kind of taste to it. I think the real name is Venetian cookies, but everyone always calls them rainbow cookies. These are one of my favorites. The hubbs also. We even ordered them from here for our wedding!

So, that was our excursion to Arthur Avenue. If you're a foodie, I highly recommend you head on over. Try one of the restaurants while you're there also. If you live out of town and can't make it, no worries. There's even an Arthur Avenue cookbook!!
Yes, I do own it. I love cookbooks!

Oh, and my brother-in-law had a VERY happy birthday.

He sure better have!
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