Wednesday, December 31, 2008

*Snapshot Wednesdays*

It was a very Merry Christmas this year!!!

Ho, Ho, Ho!! Who me? No way!


Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dinner Parties, Tapas Style

Most people FREAK out at the prospect of dinner parties. But my friend Jessica has them at least twice a week!

And they are awesome, but they don't involve a crazy amount of work or that much stress.

What she basically does is invite a couple of friends over, pick a general theme or dish to center the night around, and ask someone to bring a bottle of wine.

It turns out wonderful. A couple of weeks ago the theme was Guacamole and Beans & Rice. The guests brought margarita mixers and booze. DEE-LUSH-OUS!

You too can have a "dinner party!"

Some great basics:
- Cheese
- Olives
- Cornichons
- Proscuitto
- Wine
- Nuts

And for the warmer dish, anything baked such as:
- Baked Brie (can add sunflower seeds on top and some garlic, and serve with crackers)
- Bean dip with some cheese
- Squash or Eggplant, baked with some yummy spices and Olive oil inside
- A Flatbread Pizza (homemade or from Trader Joe's!)

Take it from me, these are fun for the host and guests alike!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ask Agmac #2

Dear AgMac,

I really want to acknowledge a few people in my life who provide me
great services year-round but don't have the extra cash to be dolling
out big tips. For instance, my fabulous hairdresser, the nurse who
gives me my allergy shots every week, the bartender at
Rope/Barcade/Insert favorite bar here, my cleaning lady (ok, so I have
some extra cash), etc. What is an appropriate way to express my
gratitude and wish them a happy new year?

Skye Quartermaine


Dear Skye,

That's a great question, and how very thoughtful of you to think of these people at the start of a new year!

I would suggest a nice card and some homemade goodies! You can buy cheap cookie tins and give each person a nice assortment of goodies that you made (cookies, fudge, candy, lemon squares, brownies, etc.) or if there is something you make better than anyone else, that'd be a nice gesture as well!

Happy New Year to you!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

**Snapshot Wednesdays**

In honor of my Birthday (which was yesterday), below is a snapshot of my 26th Birthday. Clearly this was the END of the night!

Happy Holidays y'all! I'll be back at some point next week . Mwah!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Best Birthday Ever

So I celebrated my 29th Bday a couple of days early (Saturday) and it was the best time I've had in a long time!

First, my gals took me out to dinner at Mojito, a few short blocks away from my house. And we had the most fun waiter alive. His name was Giovanni and he showered us with free shots, free mojitos and a tres leches cake lit on fire!

He also made me do my favorite dance (shown below) in order to get my cake. Tee hee.

Then we were off to Rope, my favorite, and the closest, bar. Friends came out in the slush and ice to wish me a great birthday.

And my friends Jaime and Celeste made me yummy cupcakes.

While I can't clearly remember all the details of the end of the night, getting there was way fun!

Monday, December 22, 2008

ASK AGMAC's first question!

Dear Agmac,

I am an avid reader. Per your suggestion, I never go to a party empty handed. Typically, I bring a bottle of wine for the host. What do I bring if the host has a known "problem with alcohol?"

Signed, Confused

Dear Confused,

What a great question!

What to bring depends entirely on what kind of party it is. For instance, if it's a housewarming party or an anniversary or holiday celebration, I find that a beautiful bouquet of fresh cut flowers is the way to go for a man or woman.

A fresh cut bouquet adds beauty to any party and the host will much appreciate the gesture.

If it's a birthday party, I suggest a box of cupcakes from a specialty bakery. Cupcakes make people smile. My favorites come from Crumbs.

Hope that helps!


Agmac, hostess with the mostest

Friday, December 19, 2008

**Fine Art Friday**

Yo, Yo, Yo, Ho, Ho, Ho

In the spirit of the weird, check out the work of Trujillo & Paumier. Their portraits of children are reminiscent of the Dutch masters--all the kids look like tiny, creepy adults. They also do portraits of adults.

Their work reminds me of Twin Peaks--there's a realness to the images, but also a punch of hyper-real colors, making it sort of like a dream?
The photography duo are also partners in life and they art direct and shoot together. Beautiful, eye-catching work.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dedicated to NY

Ok, so the annual "Reasons to love New York" NY Mag issue just came out. And I was surprised that the following things weren't on there!

#1. 311 Hello! What other city offers you a helpful person to complain to about a dog barking, gives you parking information and allows you to vent about just about anything? I for one, am a huge fan. I've called them several times to complain and they actually listened. Ah, 311, I love you.

#2. Beautiful People. This city has the most attractive people of any metropolis anywhere. Trust me. Boston, barf. SF, yuckeroos. Paris? Well, I've heard that they got nuthin' on us.

#3. Photography. This is where my dorkiness comes in, but since I know a little something about this, I can safely say that the best photographers in the world come HERE to work. And if you are looking for a great photographer, look no further.

#4. People care...about what they look like! You won't find any local (I'm not talking about the F'in tourists here) leaving the house in pajama pants. People actually dress to be seen.

#5. Respect. If you want to sit on a bench in the West Village and read your NY magazine at 6:00 at night in 40 degree weather, no one is going to interrupt you. I'm sorry, but people who say NY'ers are mean are stupid. We are not mean, we are respectful of people's emotional space, if not their physical. I don't want to hear your life story dude, and I don't need a friend.

#6. Public transportation actually makes sense. This coming from a transportaphobe. I can get lost in a square. But even I understand how to read a subway map.

#7. Brooklyn. That's right, the best borough in the city. And the best town in the U.S. Brooklyn is where it's at. Before I moved to NY, my only experiences were stepping in slushy puddles and getting yelled at by bus drivers in Manhattan for not having exact change. Then I discovered Brooklyn...the trees, the architecture, the space, the community, the vibe...the list goes on and on.

#8. You can ask how much someone pays for their apartment and it's not considered rude, it's "research."

Feel free to add your reasons in the comments!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

**Snapshot Wednesdays**

Here's to Weird "Owl" Karaoke in Long Beach Island, NJ. Best damn karaoke around!

(On the sax, Martha Margarita, on the white electric guitar, Lo LadyFingers, on the red electric guitar, Weird Owl)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Birthday gift Registry

Random Thoughts, by Agmac.

Why, if they have registries for babies and weddings, don't they have them for Birthdays and Christmas? I think this is a brilliant idea for a social networking website--the Or something.

Here's what would be on my registry (in case anyone was wondering what to get me this year :-)
  • A snazzy biz card holder. Cuz I never have any on me.
  • A white noise CD. My apartment building is uber loud and I need me some white noise.
  • Dangly earrings. S'up?
  • Lipgloss. A gal can never have too much lipgloss.
  • A 2009 Calendar that's easily fastened to a fridge.
  • An acoustic guitar.
  • A pair of cotton pjs with lambs on them to replace the ones that I used to have, but had to throw out cuz they had all sorts of holes in 'em.
  • One of those cool knit hats that all the cool gals are wearing, the ones that kind of resemble sacs.
What would be on yours?


Monday, December 15, 2008

New Addition to the Site!!

Hello fellow party people,

I will have a new Monday regular post called "Ask Agmac." This is your chance to ask all those party, gift giving, and social etiquette questions that burn your soul.

My awesome friend Pete made a link (see picture to the right) that you can click on and email me with questions!

I'll choose one each Monday and answer it in the blog.

You're welcome.


Friday, December 12, 2008

**Fine Art Friday**

Do you like apes? I bet you don't like them as much as fine art photographer James Mollison.

I had the pleasure of meeting James a few months ago, and his portrait of apes are unlike anything I've ever seen. The eyes on these creatures are as expressive as human eyes (watch out creationists, this is blasphemy!)

He remembered each one's name and had a story about each one's personality. It was amazing.

He is represented by M.A.P. photo agents and aside from his fine art work, also does advertising campaigns. His most compelling work in this realm has definitely been for United Colors of Benetton working with Fabrica.

He also has a hilarious serious of portraits of music fans that aim to look just like their idol.His plan is to turn the images into a book.

Can you guess who these guys are fans of?

Keep an eye on him, he's got the talent and personality to make it big.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Last Minute Gift Giving Guide

In my world, December 11th is last minute for Christmas or Channukah gifts. But that's just me.

Anyway, this is the follow up installment to my original gift giving post, filled with so many awesome, and some recession-friendly, gift giving ideas.

Cuz it wouldn't be without these helpful suggestions.

Gifts for friends with a sick sense of humor like yours
Gifts for Friends who are obsessed with Twilight, or for your teenage cousins/nieces
  • We've all got them. You know who you are. Check out these cheese-tastic gifts--iPod covers, shoes and Edward Cullen dog tags--at
Art for friends with weird tastePersonalized Gifts (always a good idea)
  • T-shirts with inside jokes or special messages at Cafe Press
Pretty Things
  • Anything from this site would be good for a girlfriend if you don't know her that well or just can't figure out what to get her, look here
For Mad Men Lovers!Books, for anyone
For Co-Workers

Gifts if you have some money to spend...
...If you have no money to spend
  • Send an e-card espousing your cheapness or lack of employment

And a tried and true gift when all else fails, DVDs of awesome movies. You can visit Amazon for that.

Lil' Elf Agmac

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

**Snapshot Wednesdays**

Today's Snapshot Wednesday is dedicated to New Year's Eve.

Two important things to remember: Friends don't let friends drink on an empty stomach and Friends don't leave friends passed out at a stranger's apartment.

Check me out from two year's ago, New Year's Eve. Due to a fiasco at a Mexican Restaurant on Court Street in Brooklyn (not mentioning any names), I did NOT eat dinner.

So I passed out right after midnight. But I have good friends who fed me carrots (see to the left of me) while I slept and made sure I got in a car service home.

Love you guys!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Corporate Party Extravaganza Follow-up!

So based on yesterday's post by Martha, I wanted to post about my wonderful holiday party! It was early this year (December 3rd), probably due to the recession (dom dom dom), but it was still fun.

What made it fun is not the hundreds of faces that I did not recognize, or the spread of pasta and meat, or the free drinks. What made it fun was dancing to great 80s and 90s music with the ladies in my department!

Check out some pictures of me and my fellow Art Producers gettin' down! We are a beautful group of women ranging in age from 29 - 50 something. But we all like to have a good time.

McCanners are McRavin'! Here's to you ladies!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Corporate Party Extravaganza (by Martha)

Our Holiday Party is a What???

Hear those carolers? See those lights? It’s the most wonderful time of the year for Christmas is here! For those of us that work for the man it also means it’s time for the annual corporate holiday party. Even if your office party is a catered affair at a swanky club or hotel with an open bar, on some level it still ends up being slightly boring, awkward in essence..corporate.

If you’ve found yourself lucky (or unlucky) enough to be the planner of your office holiday party, then you know it’s hard to work to try to make it as un-corporate as possible. Before I moved to New York, I used to work for a company that hosted what I still consider to this day to be one of the best holiday parties. It was a costume party!

A costume party in December you ask? Yup. I’ll admit, I was mortified and annoyed and frankly inconvenienced when I went to my first one. By the time I left the company I was the official holiday party planner! Nothing lowers your inhibitions about drinking and dancing with your coworkers like being dressed as a Cindy Lauper while the CFO is dressed up in drag as Cher.

Here are my suggestions for how to plan and host successful a holiday costume party:

1. Choose a theme. Believe me you will be met with resistance from coworkers about the whole costume thing. Narrow it down for them so they don’t have one more stress to add to their list. Some of the more successful themes included Wigs, Superheroes, Rock Star, TV Personalities, or my personal favorite Studio 54.

2. Venue – make it as non-traditional as possible. You’re already breaking tradition by making it a costume party, take it one step further with the venue locale. For 2 of the parties, the CEO was kind enough to let us have it as his lovely home in Northwest DC. Talk about having serious trust in his employees! After he moved, it was at a well known Chinese restaurant that was probably at it’s coolest circa 1968. Another year, we had it at a cheesy and I do mean cheesy dance club. Also, try to pick out a location where you can rent out the whole space. Make it a private affair!

3. Music – make sure there is lots of it. If you can’t afford a dj, ask fellow coworkers to make mixes. Make them feel that they have some say in the party. Plus, you'll be shocked to see how many of your coworkers hit the dance floor. Think your finance or IT guy! There is something about being in costume that makes people feel just a little bit more uninhibited.

4. Good food + open bar – You’ve made people dress up, the least you can do is reward them with copious amounts of alcohol and good food. Be sure you negotiate with the venue of a good cost per head.

5. Awards - Give out silly awards that honor the inside jokes of your department or office. Pass out the ballot the week leading up to the party then present them at the party. We called our awards The Haslies named after our CEO. Examples of awards included “Office Intimidator” “Speech of the Year” “Rookie of the Year” “Hardest to Reach” “Researcher of the Year” and lastly the “Office Blooper Award.” We also gave out best costume awards. The winners received gift certificates AND trophies!!! Who doesn’t love an engraved trophy like those we received in elementary school. I still proudly display my “Most Social” trophy.

This is a great recipe for office holiday party fun. That being said, while the costume will help you lower you inhibitions, it can’t extricate you from potentially awkward situations like making out with your coworker or hitting on your coworker's significant other. But if it’s done in costume, at least you can say it was done… “anonymously”!

Happy holidays!

Love, Martha

Friday, December 5, 2008

Best Birthday Present Ever

Hey guys,

I'm interrupting our usually scheduled post (Fine Art Fridays) in honor of my buddy Pete.

Last December 5th (Pete's 30th Birthday), I offered him $100 to stop smoking for an entire year. And ladies and gentlemen, HE DID IT!!!

Now, some of you may think, that's a lot of money. But you can't put a price on a good friend's health.

It was a challenge that he met with rigor and determination. And for me, it was technically only 27 cents per day for 365 days.

And since Pete is an artist himself, we get a lil' dose of Fine Art Fridays after all. Check out his drawings here.

Love you Pete!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thirsty Thursdays (by Lo)

Sometimes the best drinks are the ones you don't intend to make!
As a frequent mixer of drinks for my friends, my BFF Agatha is often brave enough to try out my new creations, even when they're a little questionable. For the drink pictured, I wanted to use my favorite ingredient, mint, to add a summer flavor to a winter drink. Watch this special behind-the-scenes video and try out the following recipes at home for some yummy winter treats. Enjoy!

The Froth Bite
(title courtesy of my pun-making partner in mixology, Alex)

2 oz. chocolate or vanilla (I recommend Svedka) vodka
1 oz. midori, or more as needed
5 or 6 mint leaves
Soy milk

Add vodka and mint leaves to a shaker. Muddle the leaves in the vodka until they are practically shredded and give off a little color. Add three or four cubes to the shaker and enough soy milk to cover the cubes. I like using soy because it really froths when shaken. Now, add the midori until you get the color you like! I recommend 1 oz. but if you like melon liqueur, the flavor actually goes really well with the mint. Shake and strain over a martini glass.

The Renesmee
(yeah, yeah, we love Twilight)

2 oz. bourbon (Jim Beam works)
2 blackberries
1 lemon
Simple syrup
Black currant nectar

Add the juice of 1 lemon (if too tart for your palate, substitute one half of the lemon with half an orange), pulp and all, to the shaker. Add 1 tsp. simple syrup. Muddle 1 blackberry in the sour mix until it's tinted purple. Add bourbon and ice, then pour in enough nectar to cover the cubes. Shake and strain over a martini glass, and drop in the extra blackberry. The mixture is tart and sweet, just like half a vampire!

**Snapshot Wednesdays**

If there's a cardboard or wooden cutout of anything and I can stick my head in it, I will.

Case in point:

Proof that you can have fun without alcohol!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

*REPOST*Everyday, or Early Holiday, Gift Giving Guide

********This is a re-post from October. I will also be doing a Holiday Gift Giving Guide Part II next week, so look out for it!************************************************************
I know it's only October, but there's no reason you can't start thinking about the holiday season now.

I consider myself a creative gift giver and would like to think that I know the tastes and desire of my friends & family pretty well. All it takes is to keep your ears open throughout the year for hints and a penchant for the creative.

Below is a list of my absolute favorite gift websites, along with some ideas for family members. I will repost when it gets closer to Christmas to remind everyone!

Gifts for just about ANYONE:
My favorite, favorite gift website in the whole wide world is Excitations
Because better than giving someone an object or a "thing," is giving them an experience.
With this site, you can choose a city and the type of experience you want to give--whether it be a culinary tour, a wine ta
sting, a cooking class, a hot air balloon ride, or even a glass blowing class!
I've given this as a gift for holidays, birthdays a
nd weddings. I especially like giving it as a wedding gift in lieu of money because I'm not quite at the age yet where I feel it's appropriate to give checks or cash as a gift.

Gifts for your gal BFF's:
Let's face it, ladies love jewelry and pretty thing
s. There are a slew of websites out there that have amazing crafts, jewelry, kitchen items, etc., but below are my two favorites:

* Etsy, and especially check out my friend Jennie's line!

* Elsewares--has art, jewelry, clothing, kitchen items, th
e whole shibang!!!

Gifts for Co-Workers:
Otherwise known as stupid junk you wouldn't ge
t for people you actually like...

* Cube Goodies

*Exit 9

Gifts for a boyfriend's or girlfriend's Mom:
* Pylones
Some people (my bff Lo) think this stuff is tacky junk. But if you shop with a discerning eye, one or two kitschy things can make a home! (Take my obsession with pigs for example--I wouldn't decorate my entire apartment in pink pigs, but a tiny item here or there adds to my "quirkiness).
And you don'
t really have to know the person's taste or home decor, because you can just get something fun!

*Fine Chocolates are also always welcome, no matter if the person eats them or not, they're a nice gesture and fun to share. My favorite chocolates are both beautiful and delicious... MarieBelle

Gifts for a boyfriend's or girlfriend's Dad:
This is simple, Liquor. First, find out if said Father is a recovering alcoholic. If not, then a really nice bottle of scotch goes a long way (I recommend Johnnie Walker Green or Blue).

If you are married and this is a father-in-law, or if you are looking for a gift for YOUR Dad, try a gift that keeps on giving such as...
Wine of the Month

Beer of the Month

Just make sure the state you are delivering to allows for alcohol shipments.

Homemade Gifts:
This can sometimes be the most special (and let's f
ace it, cheapest!) gifts you can give. However, in my experience, it's always better if you have an established talent, such as sewing, or photography, or baking.
My favorite handmade gift maker is my cousin-in-law Carey. She's super shy and modest about it, so I won't link to her blog, but below are a few things she's made for her friends and their kids. Aren't they FANTASTIC?!?!?!
From top: Aromatherapy pillows and a knitting needle holder; Traveling Chalk Board; Crayon holder.

Art as Gift:
This can be tricky!! I do NOT recommend buying art for someone UNLESS: a) your friend/family member is in the midst of redec
orating or moving into a new place, and b) unless you really know the person's taste.

* For lovely prints by independent artists see Etsy (above)

* Vintage Art

* A fave artist of mine... Stella Im Hultberg

* Great prints from illustrators around the worl
d... Soma Art

Wedding Gifts:
* See Excitations (above)

* Black-Out Kit...
Another great idea, which is "homemade," was given to me years ago by my co-worker/friend Cathi. She suggested getting the happy couple a "Blackout Kit." This consists of activities to do that don't involve electricity or TV. These can be "sexy time," or just playful and things that help couples reconnect. Some examples include pottery clay, candles, mad libs, board games like Boggle, a blind fold, massage oil (get your mind out of the gutter!), aromatherapy, etc.

* Awesome and great for any hip upcoming parents you know... Rockyabyes

* Rock Tees