Thank You GC! Emily Dirks

Remember the post we did on GC student and Girl Scout, Emily Dirks, and her amazing Guatemalan service project? Emily is back on the blog to thank everyone who donated recorders and to fill you in on her successful trip. Please see her email and photos below.

Hello,

I wanted to thank everyone who donated recorders. I can’t even begin to explain to you what a big hit there were. The children were so happy to get them, and we had a wonderful afternoon trying to teach them some songs. Believe me laughter transcends language. It’s amazing how such a small thing like a recorder can brighten the lives of these children. Each and everyone of them are so very precious.
The rest of the trip was also a huge success. The house that we built came out good and we all spent time with the locals on different social work visits, and we each had a day in the life of a different merchant. This trip was very humbling, and I hope one day to return to Guatemala on another service trip.

Thanks again,

Emily Dirks

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Runner Saga Resolved! Part II

I did it! I finally moved ahead on my stair runner and pulled the trigger. For those of you who missed the first piece of this home decorating dilemma, you can read it here. After some help from Adam Jarrett, the creative force behind Customstairrunners.com, I was able to choose a runner and upgrade my staircase and entryway in a big way. I think the pictures show the process pretty well:

IMG_2266Here’s what was on the stairs when we bought the house.

IMG_2263A few of the samples we checked out. They have every style imaginable.

Stripping and preparing the stairs. 

After months of hesitation on my own {and visiting many different carpet stores} about which carpet style to choose, with some professional guidance, I found something that I loved right away. Adam thought the runner should tie in the surrounding colors of the walls, the steps and the wooden banister, plus give the entryway a more modern look, while tying it in with the traditional feel of the house. I loved the idea and went ahead with a wool chevron pattern in classic colors so as not to look too trendy. Here’s the finished product:

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We went with a wide chocolate binding to draw in the color of the dark brown couch in the adjoining room and also to bring out the brown in the runner. I have to say, it looks fabulous and {I’m confident} much better than if I went with a random carpet store. As it turned out, the walls weren’t even at the top of the staircase and that caused a small problem during installation. Adam gave me a few ways we could solve it and really worked with me {and the crooked walls} to make it look superb.

I’m extremely happy with my runner and so glad I decided to go with a more personal provider. I loved the one on one attention I received. A text always got a quick response and the runner was installed just a couple of days after I made my final choice. Customstairrunners.com has a great website if you want to check out some of the other work they’ve done.

If you’re interested in new flooring, carpeting or a stair runner, check out customstairrunners.com and mention InsideGardenCity.com for a special discount! And remember- as always, InsideGardenCity hasn’t been paid any amount of money to showcase this company. I just wanted to share another great find in the never ending process of home decorating.

 

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Risotto in a Rush?

I used to spend a good part of my evening preparing big, healthy, gourmet meals. I really enjoyed cooking. It was my creative outlet and also part of my relaxation time. But I no longer have the time to devote to all of that preparation, so I’ve tailored my meals from labor intensive gourmet dishes to quick and easy gets-the-job done dishes. Which means there’s a lot of roasted chicken, meatloaf, etc on the menu as of late- one pan, pop it in the oven and you’re done.

Yesterday I came upon a lone box of risotto hiding all the way in the dark recesses of my pantry. No doubt, a leftover from my more ambitious cooking days. In an effort to try and thin out the pantry (a new mission of mine) and use up what’s been lying around in there for way too long, I decided to make a risotto. Even though it definitely goes against my new menu policy of fast and easy, I thought I could swing one labor intensive dish. I did a quick Google search for “easy risotto recipes” and hit pay dirt! I found this:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/easy-parmesan-risotto-recipe.html

Ina Garten described how to make a risotto in the oven. That’s right… in the oven. Easy peasy, right? So I got out my dutch oven, added the risotto and chicken broth and baked it for 45 minutes. No stirring at all! If you’ve made risotto before, you know it’s a labor intensive dish which involves standing at the stove and stirring and stirring and stirring… You get the picture. This recipe eliminated all of that stirring! After 45 minutes, I  moved it to the stovetop, added wine, a little more broth, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and a cup of peas. Two more minutes of stirring on the stovetop and I was done. My risotto was complete and it was almost hands-free!

Risotto-Pea-and-parmesan-010

This recipe was a great find and this way of making risotto is genius for people who don’t have a lot of time for cooking. Admittedly, it’s not the same exact quality as the more traditional way of preparing risotto, but it’s more than good enough when you’re crunched for time. Try it and see. Enjoy!

 

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Grand Re-Opening @ Envie May 4th!

If you cruise Seventh Street often, you’ve realized that Envie has been under construction for the past few months. This boutique used to have a lot of style in a small space but now they have even more style in a more beautiful {and bigger} space. As usual, pieces are fairly priced and of course… gorgeous. They’re back to business as usual now and they’re celebrating with a grand opening event on Wednesday, May 4th from 5-8pm.

envie

Now is the perfect time to shop for Mother’s Day. In honor of their completed renovations, Envie is ready to roll out the red carpet for their customers who were so patient during the construction process. Customers who come by from 5-8pm will enjoy:

15% off your entire purchase and a free gift with $100 purchase. Also, you can relax with a glass of wine, indulge in some cookies or finger sandwiches from their neighbor Bagel Man and enter Envie’s raffle.

Be sure not to miss out on the fun! Come and get your Mother’s Day shopping done {and maybe a little spring shopping for yourself while you’re there} at Envie’s Grand Re-opening Party. See you there!

The Holidays Are Long Gone III…

InsideGardenCity.com presents an old favorite among our readers: Holiday decor around town that’s lingering well past its expiration date.

We went easy on you this year, Garden City. The time to run this feature is usually pre-Easter. But even with the extra time, we spotted a number of houses sporting Christmas holiday decor. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and even Easter have come and gone, yet holiday decorations are still visible around town. As we are now approaching Mother’s Day, it’s time to give these decorations a rest!

2016-04-05 12.03.56Doesn’t this wreath look great? Yes, but not in April. 

2016-03-31 14.10.09A tree wrapped in lights, as many are around town.

2016-03-31 14.09.50These columns are dressed in their holiday best.

2016-03-31 14.06.36Here’s another tell-tale wreath. 

We caught you! Time to take these decorations down and make way for Spring! And remember- this is all in good fun!

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GCHS Student & Girl Scout Asks for Assistance

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In the words of Ronald Regan, “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”

InsideGardenCity.com is happy to help a GCHS junior and Girl Scout, Emily Dirks, as she pursues her very admirable goal of helping impoverished children and families. Read on and see if you might be able to help Emily in her cause. Her email address is included below. Thank you to our readers!

 

Dear members of the Garden City community,
My name is Emily Dirks. I’m a junior at the GCHS and an active Girl Scout.

This summer I will be traveling to Guatemala with Common Hope, a nonprofit organization partnering with impoverished children and families in Guatemala in the areas of education, health care, housing, and family development.

My group will be involved in a wide range of activities, including building a simple house for a family, accompanying a social worker on home visits, and leading school activities with young Guatemalan students. These activities are instrumental in helping the organization achieve its goals, and provide volunteers the opportunity to learn about another culture.

The students are working to raise funds and supplies for Common Hope before they travel this July. We are specifically looking for any unused school supplies and new or used recorders. The team will be leading a music lesson at a local elementary school and we are hoping to collect as many recorders as possible.

Recorders can be dropped off at 81 Cambridge Ave GC, (right off Edgemere Rd) or if you prefer you can email me at emiilydiirks@gmail.com and I’ll will be glad to pick the recorder up from your house. We will clean all the recorders before they are brought to Guatemala.

Thanks for your support,

Emily Dirks

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel- next post

I love a gel manicure. I love the clean way my nails look (and my life feels) when they’re polished. And I really love not having to worry about chips and dings. But I also have paper-thin nails. And although scientists aren’t quite sure why, gel manicures wreck them. After two weeks of nail heaven, I’m left with onion-skin nubs that peel, break, split and take months to re-grow normally. Usually, I’ll take a breather, get sucked back in, and start the cycle again.
Which is a long way of saying I’ve tried a lot of alternatives to gel manicures. I’ve tried the at-home versions that come with polishes, top coats and a UV-light. They work—but IMHO, they’re tedious, and they still destroyed my nails. I’ve tried the top coats that say they’ll give you that cushiony finish and 14-days of wear (they don’t). And then I tried Sally Hansen Miracle Gel ($10), the nail skies parted, and I haven’t used another product since.
What It Is
The collection launched last September and consists of 61 shades (above, the most popular 5) and a top coat. Here’s how it works: You paint your nails. Then you wait five minutes. Then you add the top coat. Then you parade around for two weeks with nails that look and act like they’ve been gel manicured. When you’re ready to take it all off, any acetone-based remover will do. (No scratching, soaking, or scraping like salon gel manis.) Even better? Your nails aren’t ruined. Like at all.
How It Works
Both the polish and the top coat contain a polymer which gives the manicure that rounded, voluminous look. And the top coat also contains a photoinitiator that’s activated by natural light to enhance the bond between the color and the top coat. Over time, the formula continues to cure, which means the manicure actually gets more durable the longer you wear it.
At the risk of sounding like LeVar Burton on Reading Rainbow, you don’t have to take my word for it. I saw an editor friend wearing the perfect red/orange mix, Redgy, and went to the drugstore to try it out. Sold out. So I went to the drugstore three blocks away. Also sold out. That’s when I emailed the PR girls and asked for my own set. They also told me that, according to IRI, a data collection firm, Miracle Gel is the biggest launch in color cosmetics recordable history, with sales exceeding $100 million dollars in the first year alone.
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel is the closest thing I’ve encountered to an actual manicure miracle. If you’re intrigued, give it a try. If, that is, you can find it in stock.

Best Burger?

When you order a “bleu burger” at a burger place and the person behind the counter isn’t sure what a bleu burger is, that’s a possible red flag.

I tried The Burger Spot on 7th Street in Garden City last weekend. This was my second time there and both visits were about the same. The food is reasonably well prepared and reasonably tasty, but nothing to write home about (maybe blog about but that’s it).

It was busy and clean, but I wouldn’t say it’s my new go-to spot for burgers. The fries were on the greasy side, the burgers and salad were fine, but I’d like more than “fine” when I go out for a burger. It was better than fast food, but it seemed that the wow factor was missing. Nothing was especially memorable. I will eat there again, but I will not rush back. Hopefully, I will find a better burger spot nearby, as the hunt also continues for best nearby pizza… Does anyone have any local burger recommendations for me?