January 21, 2010

Hot in Black & White

I want, I need, I have to have...

Too bad I have no idea where the dress came from!! :(

November 30, 2009

A Successful Holiday

We had a wonderful, outdoor picnic for Thanksgiving, and the meal turned out pretty delicious for my first! I went with the traditional meal plan from my earlier post.

The turkey was perfectly moist, the brussel sprouts toasty and tasty, and the stuffed mushrooms were awesome. The potatoes were kinda bland... but not bad.


November 23, 2009

Something to Be Thankful For... And A Thanksgiving Drinky Dessert to Celebrate!

I found out three days ago that I passed the California Bar Exam! That is only one of the many things I have to celebrate this Thanksgiving.

2009 has brought me a lot of experiences, good and bad. The good experiences are of the extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime type. The bad experiences are equally memorable, and are just as noteworthy in terms of marking my learning and growth.

I am thankful for all of these gifts, welcome and unwelcome alike. I know that I would not be where I am or who I am without them.

In the spirit of celebration, and Food Network’s Sandra Lee, I have decided to designate a cocktail (slash dessert) for our Thanksgiving celebration! And, since I am not a huge pumpkin pie fan (oh the shame…), I think I would rather drink my dessert!

The Pumpkin Pie

1 part Kahlua
1 part spiced pumpkin pie filling
2 parts Malibu rum
4 parts light vanilla ice cream
4 ice cubes
Garnish with cinnamon

Put everything but the cinnamon in a blender and mix on high. Serve in graham-cracker crust highball glass with cinnamon sprinkled on top.

November 14, 2009

Two Options for Turkey Day -- Reason to Celebrate TWO Thanksgivings!?

My mom, who is visiting for Thanksgiving, suggested we go out for Thanksgiving dinner...!! I immediately started mourning the loss of the leftovers just with the thought it.

So, despite the fact that I have no dining room table and there are only three (and a half, if you count the begger-dog) of us, I think I am going to make an executive decision and just make dinner! (sorry mom). So here are two recipe plans for our Thanksgiving "picnic"!

Herbal Traditional
Classic Stuffed Mushrooms
Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with Pan Gravy
Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan and Pine Nuts
Garlic Red Potato Mash

Spicy Sweet
Red Curry Spice Rubbed Roasted Turkey
Cranberry, Apple, and Ginger Chutney
Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans with Carmelized Onions & Almonds

I am hoping mom will bring some yummy yeast rolls from a bakery from my hometown to compliment either meal we end up with.

I think I will tackle pie (for the first time ever) next year, and buy one this year from a local cooking school & cafe, Generous Servings. They have mini-pies that look delicious, and that way we can have a variety to choose from!

Which Thanksgiving dinner sounds better to you?

November 11, 2009

Before & After: Real Wedding Inspiration Board & Details Recap!

Some of you may remember my first (and, eh hem, only) inspiration board for my wedding from a post back in May. Now that it's all said and done, I put together an inspiration board from the real wedding! I think it turned out better than I could have imagined!

[all photos are from my fab photog, New Vintage Photography]

A few of the ideas that you see in the inspiration board:

Ringbearer: Our terrier mut is such a huge part of our lives, it was probably no surprise to anyone that she was our ringbearer, or even that she wore a blue ringbearer dress (which, by the way, I had no part of! My sister bought it, I swear!). But, what was a surprise was how she made her entrance! When our officiant asked for the rings, "Who Let the Dogs Out" blasted on the speakers and around the corner came our perfect puppy (and our lovely junior bridesmaid escorting her).

Placecards: I printed placecards on standard business cards from Office Depot, adding a blue doily pattern from Martha Stewart's website. Then, I taped them to kabob skewers, and put them into an antique wheel barrow full of sod!

Centerpieces: My mom and I went crazy at the produce department, buying limes, peppers, Granny Smith apples, funky squashes, and eggplant, and clipped some clumps of grapes from the family vineyard.

Table numbers: I bought cloud shaped blue card stock from Papeterie, and then glued them to paper doilies from The Dollar Store. I wrote the numbers on the card stock with a white pen from Joanns.

Tablecloths: You all might remember the tablecloth dilemma from an earlier post, but we ended up going with a blue paisley from Joanns and my mom sewed them all! We want to make satchels out of the fabric to give to some of the people who helped make the wedding happen.

Signs: My sister-in-law is a pro at handpainting decorative signs, and she and I got together one summer afternoon to paint on some old barn wood from my parents-in-laws' house. We had signs for cocktails, guys & gals restrooms, the photo booth and parking!

Photo Booth: We had tons of fabric left over from the tablecloths, so we made a backdrop for a photo booth. My photographer brought an extra helper to be in charge of photobooth pictures, and chalkboards for people to write on. All the special notes and photos from the booth was probably the funnest part of getting our picture proofs after the wedding!

Cake: My aunt made the cake, with lemon curd and lemon icing (delish!), and piped the decoration on the outside to look like my dress. The cake toppers were ones that I found and fell in love with online.

Blue Shoes: I decided to go with the latest blue shoes trend, but had a really hard time finding the right blue before the wedding. So, I bought a pair of dyeables (gasp!) and had them dyed the color of my bridesmaids' dresses. I plan on dying them black or navy or maybe pewter now.

What fun it is already, only two months later, to reminisce about the most fabulous day ever!

Here's the old board...

November 7, 2009

Gray + Ruffled = Deliciousness

On a meandering lunch trip to TJ Maxx to stock up on tights, I found fabulous gray tights and (gasp!) these t-strap, gray, ruffled peep-toes by Tahari.

As a fan of all things feminine and frilly (except super floral perfume...), I am so happy with current girly fashion trends. For example, RUFFLES! Add a muted color, i.e. gray, and you have pieces that can go with oh-so-much.

Here are a few other gray ruffle-y items that I covet:

A dress all by itself or add a long sleeve T and some tights for a more cozy version...

Your basic cardigan with ruffley goodness...


A professional blazer...

Oh the outfits I could pair these with...

So sophisticated!

A little darker, a little warmer...

A tank for layering (not gray but still awesome)...

November 4, 2009

Green is the New Black: One Plastic Sandwich Bag At A Time...

Environmentally conscious living is, like, so totally in! Little efforts by individuals can compound to have a dramatic effect on saving natural resources and preventing waste. We really need to rethink our daily living if we want to affect change on a broader scale. In an effort to highlight how simple, daily choices we make can impact the environment, I decided to start this series, Green is the New Black, to post simple ideas where a little effort can go a long way!

Starting with: Plastic ziplocs! The excess of plastic in our waste stream is astounding. Even the most environmentally conscious among us cannot avoid it. Take, for example, this NRDC employee's collection of one week's worth of plastic:

So there are a lot of different ways to reduce our consumption of plastic, but what better place to start than plastic ziplocs.

One small change I decided to make was to clean and reuse plastic ziploc bags. While not using them at all would be better, for some things, they function much better than the more permanent alternatives. For example, I like to buy large quantities of food and sometimes cook large quantities, freezing the extra food or leftovers for later. Plastic bags work much better for space and maintaining the quality of the food in the freezer!

My husband calls me cheap, but I save more than money by reusing my plastic ziplocs! If you used five plastic baggies a week, say, for packing a lunch, that would be 260 plastic bags a year. If you use one bag a week instead, that is only 52, which is saving 208 plastic baggies a year! If you think about this on a broad scale, the waste and moolah saved on plastic ziplocs alone would add up to something significant! Plus, it just takes a few seconds while washing dishes to clean each bag.

After years of washing, rinsing, and hanging to dry baggies, I only recently discovered a new way of drying the baggies without having them strewn all over the kitchen... Little creative solutions can really make a difference :)

Ok, so maybe it's not that pretty... but it is much better than having them hanging on cups, utensils, and the kitchen sink faucet!

Happy ziploc washing!