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Sunday Afternoon at a Seized Assests Auction

by Moi

Itzchak TarkayOne of my favorite art pieces is a hand-signed and numbered serigraph by Itzchak Tarkay: if you know the name, please let me know (221/350). We bought it at an “auction” on a cruise – yes, its billed as an art auction, but really its just a art sale. But I love it: the bold blues; the stunning, bored woman lounging at a table – I never tire of looking at it.

Occasionally in the mail I get flyers for a seized assets auction – items acquired from police and government auctions. Typically the flyers go right in the trash, but this one caught my eye because it had a photo of a piece by Itzhak Tarkay, one of my favorite artists. When I read the details, I saw an original oil by Tarkay was being auctioned. The hotel where the auction was being held is a 5 minute walk from our home, so I kept the flyer, and put the date in my calendar.

I have attended auctions before: in addition to the cruise faux-ction, I’ve been to live auctions in NYC and at Hotel Drouot in Paris, as well as some livestock auctions at the Indiana State Fair (we were there, it was interesting!)

A couple weeks later I walked to the auction preview at 12:30, planning to just see how a seized assets auction worked. The room was filled with

  • framed art work on easels, including signed lithographs, serigraphs, etchings and original oils – by Rembrandt, Picasso, Warhol, Peter Max, Matisse, Dali, Chigall, and yes, several Itzchak Tarkay originals and signed lithographs – including the original of my serigraph! (they didn’t know the name either)
  • a counter with jewelry, including Rolex watches, loose stones and diamond bracelets
  • several long tables with original bronze sculptures, art glass, and piles of silk and wool rug

In addition to the auctioneer, there were several auction reps, runners and an armed guard. I asked one of the auction reps how the process worked:seized assests auction

  • register to participate by signing in and get an auction paddle
  • each registered participant is given a pad of round red stickers: if you’re interested in an item, put a sticker on it
  • only items with stickers will be auctioned
  • there is an 18% service fee plus local tax on top of the auction price

In the corner was a fruit, cheese and cracker spread, and next to it a complementary bar. The auctioneer clearly wanted registrants liquored up. After nibbling some cheese and armed with a strong blood mary, I started squeezing my way up and down the aisle crammed with easels. There were maybe 20-25 other people checking out the items up for auction, some clearly there for the auctions, others who (like myself) appeared to be merely sightseeing.

I had planned to leave before the auction, but I hadn’t finished my bloody mary yet so I sat down to watch and learn. There were only about a dozen people bidding, but there was some serious buyers present. Prices went from as low as several hundreds of dollars to $20,000 for the various pieces that were auctioned off in the next half hour. The original Tarkay of my serigraph sold for just over $11,000 – and when I returned home I saw similar original works by Tarkay for sale for over $20,000.

In all, an entertaining and educational way to spend an afternoon: and while I’d be thrilled to own the original, I still love my Tarkay.

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April 1, 2015   No Comments

Skinnygirl Popcorn – with Lime!

by Moi

Skinnygirl sea salt and lime microwave popcornI’m a microwave popcorn addict: and I love the convenience and calories of the mini-bags, typically about 100 calories per serving. I’m not loyal to any brand, but I prefer kettle corn: sweet, salty and crunchy.

The last few trips to the grocery I’ve noticed a new player on the popcorn shelf: Skinnygirl. So today I gave in and bought a box of Skinnnygirl Sea Salt & Lime Popcorn… WOW!

I didn’t expect there to be a distinct taste difference, but I was wrong: the lime flavor is distinct and delicious! It doesn’t taste at all like a margarita, but it does taste distinctly limey and salty. The Kernels are Orville Redenbacher: big crunchy and every kernel popped. When I checked the box its more calories than I thought – but still reasonable for a daily healthy snack that satisfies. (Have you ever had 2 of your 100 calorie snacks because one didn’t satisfy you?)

I highly recommend you give it a try: I thought I loved sweet and salty, but I’m truly a lime and salty girl.

The DetailsSkinnygirl microwave popcorn

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March 27, 2015   No Comments

Homemade Frozen Yogurt Part 2

by Moi

I love frozen yogurt… and I’m happy to visit my favorite frozen yogurt store, Pinkberry, on any excuse. But sometimes I just don’t want to go out – its too hot, too cold, to wet, too late, or too something.

I shared a while back that I discovered and use my Zoku Slush and Shake maker to make homemade salted caramel frozen yogurt. Turns out great! I store the Zoku slush maker in the freezer of my NYC apartment, and can make salted caramel yogurt any time I want.

Zoku Ice Cream MakerNow, I discovered the Zoku ice cream maker: the same scrape and stir concept, but in a bowl shape! I was in SoFlo at Williams-Sonoma, and actually paid the full price $25.99 to take it home and try it that night.

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February 16, 2015   2 Comments

Homemade Pop with Soda Stream

by Moi

I drink on average 2 diet ginger ales every day – yes, I’ve heard pop isn’t good for me. I like diet ginger ale, and I rationalize I could be doing things that are a lot worse for my health every day. For a year I’ve been hinting – actually begging – for a Soda Stream so I could make my diet ginger ale at home. I hadn’t actually tested the diet ginger ale yet – Bed Bath and Beyond frequently has someone making and giving away samples, but I don’t want to sample cola: I don’t like cola, I like diet ginger ale!

Soda Stream Fountain Jet - Starter KitI’ve pinned, mentioned, pointed and whined, and still no one gifted me a Soda Stream. Until this Christmas: daughter Angie gifted me a Soda Stream, and a bottle of diet ginger ale syrup. SCORE!

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February 9, 2015   1 Comment

10 Minute Spice Cabinet Organizer

by Moi

If your spice cabinet looks like mine, you can’t find the spices you know you have, so you end up buying duplicates – although in our case, my husband is too lazy too look so he buys more. Which explains why we have 3 giant bottles of chili powder…

We recently moved (yes, again!) and merged 2 kitchens into one. As a result, my spice cabinet looked like this:

Its hard to see, but behind all those spice jars are dozens more spices that we use, but can never find. I had seen TV ads for a spice shelf organizer, and as I was heading to Bed Bath and Beyond anyway, I decided to buy Spicy Shelf.

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February 2, 2015   3 Comments

Teapot DIY Bling

by Moi

I work from home, and sometimes I get a bit of writer’s block combined with some desk fatigue. Last week the days started turning cooler, and instead of a single cup of tea I decided to make a pot of tea… and realized my teapot needed a bit of bling!

 1 glass teapot with a metal lid

glass teapot with metal lid

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September 21, 2014   1 Comment

the book is now a movie: The Hundred-Foot Journey

by Moi

The Hundred-Foot Journey

A while back I shared how much I LOVED the book The Hundred-Foot Journey – A Novel by Richard C. Morais. The book shares the story of a young Indian boy and his extended family of restaurateurs in Mumbai who move travel first to southeastern France, where he ends up in the kitchen of a Michelin-starred restaurant.

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June 13, 2014   No Comments

Easy, Refreshing Fruit Flavored Water

by Moi

strawberry flavored waterI didn’t know this was a tip until someone saw me drinking my morning water, and thought I had a genius idea! So today I’m sharing it with you!

I love strawberries, and happily they’re now inexpensive and available year round. I buy local strawberries when they’re in season: but when they’re not, I buy whatever strawberries are at the grocery.

I typically buy 1-2 cartons of fresh strawberries per week, and I use strawberries in my morning smoothie or yogurt, and in salads, homemade ice cream, and sometimes I just like to eat strawberries.

When I buy them, I leave them in the plastic carton but wash and dry them as soon as I get home from the grocery, then put them in the fridge in their plastic container. When I make something using strawberries, I grab a knife and trim the tops off, then slice or quarter the strawberries as needed.

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June 6, 2014   2 Comments

Seashell DIY: Place Card Holders

by Moi

I love collecting seashells, but what I really like to do is incorporate seashells into my decor: I love the touch of nature they bring, and the memories they hold!

DIY seashell craft place card holder

I’ve visited Sanibel Island in Florida several times, where I perfected the Sanibel stoop: walking along the shore bent over, searching for the perfect seashell to add to your collection. In Sanibel I found an assortment of conch and whelks – being careful not to take live shells – which are both beautiful, and can be made into decorative and useful gifts.

Here’s my latest DIY seashell craft project: place card holders – which can be used for more than place cards.

Read all about seashell DIY place card holders on my post on MumRx

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May 26, 2014   1 Comment

Customizable Hanging Closet Organizer

by Moi

Real Simple Closet OrganizerWhen renting an apartment, closets can be a major hassle. You need to maximize closet storage and organization, but who wants to invest in expensive closet organization systems in a rental?

I just moved to a new apartment, and the closets are very different from my last apartment. So off I went to Bed Bath and Beyond, with a list of closet measurements and a closet floor piled with clothes.

And I discovered a Real Simple Solution.

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May 8, 2014   No Comments