Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

I’m married!

September 23, 2011

Jim and I got married last Saturday in the Syracuse, NY area. Here are a few pictures from the rehearsal dinner, which took place at the Wellington House in Fayetteville.

My husband and me

My siblings and me

Some of us about to eat

 Here are a couple of pics from the ceremony, which took place at Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville:

And some pictures from the reception, which took place at the Lafayette Hills Golf & Country Club in Jamesville, NY.


The wedding was so much fun (at least I had a blast)! I can’t wait to see the professional pics!

A Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

September 5, 2011

On Saturday my fiance and I decided to go to Portsmouth, New Hampshire– a supposedly cool city just an hour’s drive from Boston. We got there around noon, walked around for a few minutes and then stopped at the River House for lunch. Although the restaurant’s on the water, we decided to eat inside because it was so hot out. The highlight of the meal was certainly the seafood chowder, which is shown in this picture.

It contained lobster, scallops, shrimp, clams and haddock, and was so so good. I guess that’s no surprise considering it won first place awards at the 2009/2010 Portsmouth Chowder Festival. The above picture also shows my fiance’s tasty lobster roll and hand cut potato chips. I had a lobster Lorraine quiche with a house salad.

Everything was fantastic! And they even gave us a free bowl of chowder (sort of an accident, but we gladly accepted)! After lunch we got some coffee at Breaking New Grounds in Market Square. We vowed to return later in the day (they had tons of delicious-looking pastries and gelato), and we did. Look at these gelato flavor combinations we came up with.

Hazelnut chocolate and strawberry chocolate

It would have been nice to sit outside of the coffee shop and people watch, but alas it was too hot. These photos will give you a feel for Market Square:

We walked around for a while, went shopping and saw some cool things.

A mural

A bridge going up

A fountain

A church

A quaint restaurant nestled in a back alley

Frogs doing yoga

Nice streets like this one

A physic studio

I got a couple of shirts for super-cheap in this consignment shop.

And we discovered a beautiful garden area.

My fiance in the garden area

Me in the garden area

Turns out this area is called Prescott Park. It’s right near an old cemetery, with gravestones dating to the 17th century.

It’s not far from the water either.

On our way back to the car we came across the Oracle House, one of Portsmouth’s oldest homes (circa 1702).

And the Liberty Pole, a flagpole commemorating our freedom from British rule. At this location in 1766 colonists hung a banner reading “Liberty, Property and No Stamp” to protest King George’s Stamp Act (it imposed taxes on newspapers, stationary and documents).

We saw this just before leaving. It pretty much sums up our experience in Portsmouth.

Wedding hair that didn’t make the cut

July 27, 2011

I did this a few months ago with wedding dresses. Now I’m doing it with hairstyles. There are just two of them, but I loved them so much I had to post them.

I guess they’re pretty similar. I ended up going with an updo; I’ll post it here after the big day. Just so you know, Rose Ruggiero of Rose & Company Hair Design in Fayetteville, NY is doing my hair and makeup. She’s so nice!!!

I didn’t want a bridal shower

June 25, 2011

But my aunts threw me one anyway. It ended up being awesome because it didn’t really feel like a bridal shower (with the exception of all the presents). The backdrop was a barbecue, guys were invited, and no girly games were played. Here are a few pics from the event:

My friends Henrik and Emily were able to attend (along with their adorable baby, Elise)

My friends Steve and Lindy (along with their Dad) also showed up

Me in front of all the desserts people made

My aunts, mom and I

My dad and members of his side of the family

More family members

My sister, her dog, and I

I got a TON of presents. I am so appreciative…from the nice flower-patterned Oneida silverware to the wine racks to the three adorable aprons (I swear there’s a lot more where that came from!), I feel so lucky.

My first BzzAgent review: about.me

May 23, 2011

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently started working as a copywriter for a social marketing company called BzzAgent. Also known as a word-of-mouth marketing company, BzzAgent enlists hundreds of thousands of “agents” to discuss brands and products (L’Oreal, Michelin, and Unilever are just a few of its clients).

The agents receive free products, free services, and discounts. I signed up to be an agent (also called a “BzzAgent”) to see what’s it’s all about (you can do so as well). After filling out some surveys, I was invited to the “about.me” campaign. About.me lets you put multiple online profiles (including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Flickr profiles) in one place.

I created an about.me page at about.me/christinelaubenstein. You decide which profiles and/or links you want to include on your page. I added my Twitter, WordPress, LinkedIn, Vimeo, YouTube, and Tumblr accounts (granting about.me access to my posts, updates, videos, etc.), but I declined to allow access to my Facebook info (including profile information, status updates, and friends’ photos).

For me, my Facebook page is a relatively private space I don’t want strangers to see. I did, however, opt to add a link to my Facebook page (in case someone wants to friend me). You can link to other pages if you’d like, or add other profiles (Blogger, Posterous, Flickr, TypePad, Formspring, Last.fm, Daily Booth, and Instagram).

You can also personalize your background, font colors, fonts, and biography. Other features include statistics about your accounts and about.me page, ideas for promoting your about.me page, and a place to add your favorite about.me pages. I haven’t yet used all these features, but I’ll still provide my initial thoughts about about.me:

  • It’s a neat idea. Unless you have your own website/blog, I don’t know of any service that lets you list such a wide variety of profiles (LinkedIn, for example, just has fields for three websites, your Twitter account, and your IM screen names). Not to mention the other services don’t let you see content from all your accounts.
  • I like how you can personalize your page.
  • It’s good from an SEO standpoint. You can use about.me to submit your about.me page to Bing, Google, and Yahoo. I did this about two weeks ago, and at least for Google my about.me page already appears on the second page of search results when my name is queried. So creating an about.me page can help push down negative links (if you have them, of course).
  • I’m not sure sure how much time I’ll devote to my page. I have a personal blog and professional website that already allow me to add my Tumblr, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. info. So if I have these sites I’ve already invested in, why do I need about.me? I guess I could use about.me to have all my content in one place. But at this point, I don’t see a huge benefit. Clicking on a link to access my content (at its source) takes one second.

Some food notes from my brother’s graduation weekend

May 9, 2011

My brother just earned his MBA from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. After the ceremony on Saturday, we helped ourselves to complimentary finger foods. I especially liked these skewers of sausage bits, green olives, cheddar cheese, and cherry tomatoes. The appetizer is colorful, tasty, and seemingly easy to make.

Here’s the cake my mom bought for my brother.

The cake was made by Connie Decker, the same woman who’s going to make my wedding cake (I mentioned her in this earlier post). I am so happy we’re going with her for the wedding, as the cake was incredibly moist and the filling and frosting were also quite good.

I made dinner yesterday for Mother’s Day. It was so nice walking through the aisles of a grocery store and not having people all around you.

Tops supermarket in Fayetteville, New York

Normally I shop at a Shaw’s in Cambridge, Massachusetts and it’s always so crowded.

A week of wedding planning

April 21, 2011

The "ladies room" of the Wellington House

Since Wednesday my fiance and I have been in Syracuse, taking care of wedding business. Here’s what we’ve done:

  • We met with the florist. We are having Nino Gagliano of the Backyard Garden Florist do our flowers. He’s so nice and accommodating. We arrived at our appointment with several ideas of what we wanted, which made things easy. When we showed Nino our pictures (I found them online), he immediately knew which flowers were in each arrangement. Based on our preferences and his advice, he helped us pick out the perfect flowers and color combinations. We will be using a mixture of white roses, calla lillies, green hydrangeas, snapdragons, stock flowers, and hypernicum berries.
  • We checked out the rehearsal dinner venue. My fiance’s parents are hosting the rehearsal dinner at the Wellington House in Fayetteville. Wow, what a unique and charming abode! Built in the early-1920s, the home is split up into themed rooms. For example, there’s a “wicker room,” “men’s lounge,” and “bride’s room.” Thomas Thomas, the current owner, has filled the residence with furniture and antiques he’s purchased from local auctions. The estate includes a garden and a bar area, both of which we’ll be using for the rehearsal dinner (we’ll actually have free reign of the whole property).
  • We discussed some wedding details over a delicious dinner. My fiance’s parents were in town for a couple of days as well, so my family (my dad, mom, brother and I) went out to dinner with them and my fiance. We dined at the Brewster Inn, a wonderful bed and breakfast overlooking Cazenovia Lake. Not only was the view lovely, but dinner was amazing. Almost everyone had something different. I had the pan seared tournedos of beef (it came with chantilly potatoes, asparagus, and burgundy cream sauce), and my fiance indulged in the pork tenderloin au poivre (it was served with chantilly potatoes, asparagus, and a green peppercorn cream sauce).
  • We met with the baker. Connie Decker of The Chocolate Truffle will be making our wedding cake. I can’t find her website, but here’s a newspaper article about her. She’s been in business for more than 20 years, so she seems to really knows her stuff. We were a little disappointed she doesn’t do cake tastings (to help you figure out what cake flavor and filling to choose), but were willing to sacrifice that perk for her expertise. We decided on a chocolate cake with white frosting and raspberry filling. White roses, green hydrangeas, stock flowers, and hunter green leaves will decorate the cake.

Tomorrow we’re finalizing the guest list with my mom; on Saturday, we’re sampling food at the reception venue. I’m especially excited for that task!

Some random gastronomical musings

March 6, 2011
  • The Flour Bakery + Cafe’s cookbook rocks. I’ve never actually made anything from the book (nor do I own it), but I’ve sampled two desserts from it. One was a chocolate cupcake with white butter frosting, and the other was a lemon square. A friend of ours brought over some of the lemon squares the other night, and I can’t stop thinking about how good they are.

The remaining lemon squares

  • Wegmans rocks. You’ve all heard of this amazing grocery store right? Each year, the Rochester, NY-based supermarket makes Fortune magazine’s list of best places to work. Not to mention the store has an excellent selection of produce, baked goods, meat, and much more. Well this past week, when I was in Syracuse for some wedding planning, my mom made veal and spaghetti with Wegmans’ vodka sauce.

The sauce is unbelievably tasty. Its ingredients include diced tomatoes, tomato puree, diced onions, cream, olive oil, vodka, Romano cheese, roasted garlic, and basil. She mixed the sauce with cooked mushrooms, put the mixture atop spaghetti, and served it with Wegmans-brand veal.

My mom bought some of the Wegmans-brand veal for me to bring back to Boston.

I love how the veal is nice and skinny. My mom basically dipped the veal pieces into an egg and flour mixture; then covered them with breadcrumbs. She cooked the veal in some olive oil for a couple of minutes, put mozzarella on top of the veal pieces, and microwaved them for a minute. So the cheese was nice and melted atop the crispy veal. Oh my gosh I was in heaven eating this meal. It was of restaurant quality (a good restaurant, that is)!

I stopped by the local wine store, looking for a decent boxed wine. As I was reading the back of this one, a lady giving out samples of another wine told me a couple of customers had just recommended this one. So I went with it. It was pretty reasonably priced ($15 for 1.5 liters, which is two bottles-worth), and it is organic/contains no sulfites. I’m no oenophile; I just like a smooth, decent-tasting wine. Well, this one fits the bill. I mean, it’s a little spicier than the wines I’m used to, but by no means is that a negative thing. I would surely purchase this brand of wine again.

Small-town bars

March 5, 2011


When I was living in a country town in upstate New York, there were many of those bars where everyone knows your name. You walk into the establishment, and nearly everyone looks straight up and says “Hey Christine!” (or whatever your name may be).

You walk around, saying “hi” to everyone; hoping you’ll avoid that one guy who gives you a hard time each time you come in (you know, he tries to hug you when you don’t want a hug or asks why you don’t want to go hunting with him). You buy a drink for an incredibly cheap price (or someone buys it for you), and then shoot the breeze with the regulars.

In my upstate New York town, there were a couple of these establishments I’d frequent more than others. I remember going to the first one; being marked by the frequency with which country music was played. Single men in their 40s and 50s would be listening to a sad country tune about an unrequited love while practically crying into their Bud or Michelob lights.

I made the mistake of playing a techno song on the jukebox one evening. “What the H#@& is this?!?!?” several Carhartt-clad men shouted in unison. I looked up, realizing the error of my ways. This was NOT the place to get my techno music fix. We let the song play, however, as several regulars lined up to play their next sappy country ballad.

One night at this bar I had some especially great conversations. I don’t remember what was said exactly, but I do remember one boat salesman saying he had to play me a couple of his favorite songs. This first one will always remind me of my time in this insular yet charmingly simple country town.

I remember that whenever the chorus played, this guy would close his eyes, groove his head to the beat, and belt out the words. He’d passionately utter:

I wake up and tear drops
They fall down like rain
I put on that old song we danced to and then
I head off to my job
Guess not much has changed

Punch the clock
Head for home
Check the phone, just in case
Go to bed
Dream of you
That’s what I’m doing these days

The other song was a little gentler/more meaningful in my opinion. I’m unable to post the YouTube video to this page, so I’ll just link to it. I remember thinking it was nice that this rustic outdoorsman enjoyed such a sweet song (it’s about a love between a father and son).

At the other bar, you’d run into all sort of important people in town: police officers, lawyers, town board members, etc. Initially they knew you (well me and some of my friends at least) as the journalists who interviewed them from time to time. But then, after seeing them there a few times, you were more like a friend. Eventually you barely talked about what you did for a career. Instead, you’d join them in cheering for the Green Bay Packers, playing some darts, or discussing the upcoming dairy parade.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/3841713630

Yeah, Save the Dates are ordered!

January 31, 2011

Today I ordered Save the Date postcards from Vistaprint, a Lexington, Mass.-based company. About 100 postcards and envelopes cost $75 ($15 of which covers seven-day shipping). I’m not sure if that’s a good price, but I am happy to have placed the order. Here’s what the front of the postcards will look like:

I don’t have Photoshop, so I added the text with Paint.


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