27.12.09

christmas flowers

So for Christmas presents for some of the ladies in my life, I made a variety of flower pins. I think for the first time doing something like this they turned out pretty well.
So for the tutorials I used, please head over to My Mama Made It. She has an absolutely fabulous blog with a lot of great tutorials.

a wedding warning

So on Christmas Eve, before going to church, the Boyfriend and I decided to open our Christmas presents. I got him a watch and a coin counter (he is obsessed with counting his change) and he got me a packet of gift slips to the car wash, a digital camera, and an electric can opener. You have NO IDEA how excited I was about my new electric can opener. I have broken about five hand can openers in the past six months. And they weren't all cheap ones from the dollar store either.

So now I need you to imagine the setting for our story. Me, sitting at the foot of the tree, messing with my new presents and making the BF take pictures of me with my new stuff. The BF, seemingly annoyed that I won't stop talking about my new can opener so he can get a word in.

"I have one more thing for you," the BF says. He pulls a little box out from under the couch. He gets down on one knee. (I was sitting on the floor so even with him kneeling, his six-foot-four frame towers over me.) He opens the box. "Will you marry me?"

Now I have thought about this day for awhile now. I thought about what I would say and what I would do. I didn't know exactly what I would do but I knew that I would handle the situation with such grace and poise, that Emily Post would have to reference this day in her etiquette books for years to come.

But instead I sit there. And I let that nervous hulk of a man sit there. Waiting. While I look at him and then the ring and then him and then the ring.

And then finally I manage to choke out "yes" reminding myself not to get hysterical because my make up would run and we had a party to go to after church.

Then he says "it is my grandmother's diamond." Screw you Emily Post! I start bawling.

It is weird. Although I was expecting this sometime in the near future, the whole thing was still so stunning and surreal. It was like a dream where you feel like you have control over yourself but you really don't because you are dreaming.

So this is just a warning that for an undefined period of time there will be A LOT of posts about weddings. Oh and the BF is no longer a BF. He is the FH.

Here's to happy planning!

24.12.09

have a holly jolly christmas

Just wishing you a very merry Christmas!

tic toc, make your own clock

So I made most of my Christmas gifts this year to save money. For my brother, I decided to make a clock. He has loved the Washington Capitals since he was three and had his picture in the Washington Post a few times because of the cute faces he would make during games. I decided to paint a clock with the new team colors and logo.

I went to Michael's and bought the clock face. They didn't have the clock hands I needed so I ended up going to a clock store to get them - more expensive but definitely better quality. First, I painted two coats of red paint on the clock face.

Then, I printed out the logos I wanted to paint on the clock off of the internet. I then traced them using tracing paper. (I am neither a drawer or a painter so this was the best way to go).

Then I transferred the image onto the clock using graphite paper.

When I was finished transferring, I painted in the colors according to the logos I printed out. You definitely need to make sure you have smaller brushes, though. It didn't turn out as great as I wanted because it was hard to paint in some of the smaller spaces and it was nearly impossible to paint words. I think if I did it again I would just leave the smaller words out.

After the paint was completely dry, I applied matte Modge Podge to the entire clock.

After the Modge Podge dried, I attached the numbers (you can find adhesive numbers at Micheal's in the clock section). I decided just to put the four numbers for fear I wouldn't be able to make all the numbers evenly spaced. Then, I put in the clock mechanics they gave me at the clock store.

And there you have it - a Washington Capitals clock. I don't think my brother reads my blog so I figured I could safely put up this tutorial before he opens his present. Have a good Christmas Eve!

10.12.09

i love you, daddy warbucks

Ever since I became obsessed with the musical, Annie, at the age of five, I have wanted a locket. I dreamt that I would trade places with Annie and have a broken locket of my own. I even kind of preferred the broken gold locket that Annie always wore instead of the shiny silver one that Daddy Warbucks gave her from Tiffany's. I thought it had a lot of "character."

Well, I am grown now I am still obsessed with lockets. And I don't own one. Not one. I have seen a few I really liked but I always thought someone should buy a locket for you. Like how Annie's parents gave her one when they left her at the orphanage. (Ok probably not the best example.)

I have become obsessed with the fact that you can click on jewelry, then necklaces, and then LOCKETS on Etsy. Mon Dieu, how I love Etsy!!

Here are a few I really liked:
This one is pretty but I am not wild about the chain.


This one reminds me of the Marie Antoinette movie.


Love how this one has a message in French. ("more than my own life" in case you were wondering.)

Love the fleur-de-lys!


Although I prefer oval lockets, this is so cool with the fleur-de-lys and watch mechanic thingers. (I know that's not the technical name for it.)


Normally lockets you see are flat but this is more modern looking in 3-D.

With one of my favorite things - FEATHERS!!

I really would like to own all of these - if I already had a locket. But I think the first locket should be simple. Something that goes with everything. Something a little like Annie's. Maybe some broken. (Ok maybe that is a little too obsessive.) Something like these:
I wish I could find one that is oval like the last one but plain like the circle ones. But I also haven't made my way through all the pages of lockets on Etsy yet so we will see...

9.12.09

the blog neglector

I know I haven't been blogging a lot lately.  This skirt that I have been working on has officially driven me crazy.  It is my first skirt and I probably should have stuck with the original pattern which was somewhat complex in the first place instead of modifying it.  Oh and I probably shouldn't have added lining either to my first sewn garment. But I am almost there. (And I already spotted this marvelous fabric at the fabric store which I would like to make into a pencil skirt).

Oh and don't worry. That is not the only project that has kept me from blogging. I am attending a Great Gatsby party in two Saturdays. I am trying to create a 1920s style dress from a dress I found at the thrift store. Any ideas? The dress is shapeless. (Apparently if you didn't have a boyish figure in the 20s, the clothes were not for you.  Too bad for my Italian hips.)

I have also decided to make my Christmas presents for my family this year since I am broke city. In case they are reading this I won't disclose what I am making until after Christmas.  Just wish for me that they turn out beautifully. Otherwise, I will be scrambling last minute to figure out new ideas and funds.

Oh and the Boyfriend dropped a bomb on me last night. A few months ago, the BF canceled Christmas, meaning we weren't exchanging gifts this year. Despite the fact that I really like getting him something, he is probably one of the most difficult people to shop for since he really never wants anything and his birthday is a month after Christmas. So even when I do figure out something for Christmas, I am normally at a lost for his birthday. In other words, I was a little relieved.  Especially considering I start looking in October since he is so difficult.

So anyways back to last night. I sold my bike last night and the Boyfriend said, "Well you can use that money to get my Christmas gift."

Thinking he was joking, I responded, "Yea sure. Too bad you canceled Christmas."

But then he said, "Well, I am getting you something."

"What do you mean you are getting me something?"

"I am getting you a present."

"BUT YOU ARE THE ONE THAT CANCELED CHRISTMAS!!!!!"

I know this doesn't seem that bad but out of respect for Santa - YOU DON'T FAKE CANCEL CHRISTMAS! THIS ISN'T BASKETBALL. YOU CAN'T GO ONE WAY AND THEN THE OTHER.

I know he is hard to shop for but I could get over that. Oh and I may have been able to get over the fact that Christmas is two and half weeks away and there are few legitimate stores in Salisbury. But I am making all the gifts for my family. WITH MY OWN TWO HANDS! And I have other projects as well! In other words - I am officially under a major time crunch.

But don't worry I rallied. And I picked him up something today. (Surprisingly, not online but in Salisbury.) But I can't tell you what it is since I found out he reads my blog.

But I just wanted you to know that I haven't forgotten you. I was just swallowed by a couple projects. I am hoping we speak again soon but don't worry if you don't hear from me until after Christmas.

6.12.09

Mediterranean Tuna Sandwich

I really like tuna salad sandwiches. A lot. But with all of that mayo, they become very unhealthy. I have been playing around with ways to make tuna salad without mayo and this sandwich is the best one I have come up with so far.


MEDITERRANEAN TUNA SANDWICH

makes about 3 - 4 sandwiches

12 oz can white albacore tuna
2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
3 teaspoons red onion, diced
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
freshly ground salt & pepper
2 slices of fresh bread (I used sourdough)
1 1/2 Tablespoons roasted red peppers, finely diced until it is almost a paste
Dijion mustard
mixed greens

1.  Put drained tuna, parsley, onion in a bowl and mix. Mix in olive oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper.
2. On on slice of bread, spread on some Dijion mustard. Top with the tuna mixture and some mixed greens. On the other slice of bread, spread on the diced red peppers. Place as top piece of bread.

Variations
* I used sweet red peppers but next time I might try fire roasted for some spice.
* I am not a huge fan of olives but if you are, mix them in with the parsley and onion.
* Next time I may try topping it with artichokes along with the peppers.

I was so surprised by how great the parsley was in the tuna salad. It gave it such a freshness.  I don't think I will ever go back to putting mayo in my tuna.

1.12.09

Sneak Peek

The skirt is not quite finished but its getting there...

30.11.09

A Girl Can Dream...

So I know I haven't even finished my skirt yet but one day I aspire to make a dress as beautiful as the one Zoe Kazan is wearing in this week's Best Dressed on Vogue.com.  Come on! The ruffles and fluffy A-line skirt! Yum!

29.11.09

My Christmas List

I used to love making a Christmas list as a kid.  I didn't just write out a list, though. My list was adorn with pictures cut from the various Christmas catalogues. I rarely got everything on my list but I didn't mind.  I just liked cutting the pictures out and pasting them to paper. I figured since we have survived Thanksgiving and Christmas is almost here, I would make a hypothetical Christmas list (but feel free to pass along any ideas to the Boyfriend - although we aren't exchanging gifts this year, my birthday is soon after that.)

1.  DVD's - specifically...
Annie (the one with Carol Burnett and Bernadette Peters)- I used to watch this about once a week as a child. I even was in the junior version in middle school.
The Wizard of Oz - I used to watch this just about everyday when I was little.  I must of been an odd child considering most children were scared of the flying monkeys.
The American President - WHY DO I NOT OWN THIS MOVIE?!
First Season of The West Wing - Ok, ok. I love fictional presidential drama.

2. Fabric. Yes, I know I haven't even finished that skirt I have been working on yet but I feel an intense hobby coming on.

3. A gift card to J. Crew. Oh and Nordstrom. And H&M. Well, I guess just a VISA gift card will do.

3. Spinning shoes. I am officially obsessed!

4. A new camera. Mine is so angry with me for taking way too many pictures. More specifically the Canon PowerShot SD 780 IS.

5. Jewelry from Pink Street. So pretty!

6. A Phillip's Senseo.

7. Oh and I suppose a trip or two to France. Giggle.

24.11.09

American Pie

I am a bad person. Either that, or I am just crazy.

But seriously, I blame the Boyfriend.

And I can tell you what happened because he doesn't read my blog.

This all started about a week ago. The BF emailed me at work to say that a slice of apple pie was in our fridge - wait, no that's not accurate - a HUMONGOUS HOME-MADE slice of apple pie was in our fridge and not to be touched. One of the ladies at work had made it for his grandfather and he was going to have to go drop it off.

But until then, it was to sit there, taunting me. 

I have no will power. The only reason I am not 500 pounds is because I try and stock my house with healthy snacks like almonds and dried apricots and don't buy the bad stuff.*

Apple pie is my ultimate weakness. I can eat a whole pie in one sitting. And no I don't want to water it down with ice cream. Apple pie is like the cheese to my macaroni as Juno would say.** But, I let the slice of pie be.

Today, I came home to find a whole apple pie sitting on the counter. The BF had informed me that the same sweet lady*** from work made it for the BF, his grandfather, and me to have for Thanksgiving. OK this is plain mean. I have to wait two whole days!

But it had a crumbled topping. And when it comes to food I never give up. If I learned to pick a lock at the age of ten I can surely eat some of the pie without anyone knowing.

So I took a fork and lifted a little piece of crumble and then lifted a piece of apple with the crumble and pulled out a piece of apple and put it in my mouth.**** Ahhh!  SOO GOOD! FOODGASM! It took everything in me not eat more and more.

I put the crumble back down and patted it in place. It was absolutely not noticeable. And then I started to feel guilty. 

So I needed to vent but I couldn't tell the BF. Thanks for listening. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


* For the Death by Chocolate I made last week, I needed Skor bars. I knew I would be making this a few times over the next couple of weeks for different things so I went to Sam's to get a huge box of them. Because I have no will power, the box is wrapped in packing tape.

** Ahhhhh! Macaroni and cheese!

***I swear she and the Boyfriend are conspiring against me

**** That's what she said!

22.11.09

You Don't Know Jacques!

Just thought I would share a really cool new nail polish I bought - definitely a new favorite.  It is called "You Don't Know Jacques!" by OPI.  Its not quite brown, not quite grey.  It changes colors in different light.  I am normally a coral girl but all these dark new colors were just too tempting to ignore.  

Check out the pictures I took.  (Hand modeling - probably not my calling...) This really only captures one of its colors.



18.11.09

Death by Chocolate

For many years, this dessert was made for me for my birthdays since it was one of my FAVORITE desserts. I love to cook but I am not much of a baker.  No worries here though - this recipe is so easy.  I made this for a work party today and everyone loved it.




Look yummy?  Well, why don't you make it for yourself? And don't wait for your birthday!

DEATH BY CHOCOLATE

1 box of chocolate cake mix (brownies can be substituted)
3 packets of instant chocolate mousse (I like dark or double chocolate)
12 - 16 oz of frozen Cool Whip
8 Heath OR Skor bars (any English toffee bars)
1/2 - 1 cup of Kahlua OR other coffee flavored liqueur

1. Prepare chocolate cake mix according directions on the box.  After baking, let cake cool completely.  Using a fork, poke holes in cake and pour 1/2 to 1 cup of Kahlua over it according to taste. Let soak for 30 minutes.

2. Prepare instant mousse according directions on package.

3. Bang toffee bars with a mallet while still in the wrappers.

4. Take half of cake and crumbled bigger crumbs into bottom of a glass trifle dish.  Spread half of mousse over crumbled cake.  Sprinkle about 3 toffee bars and about 3/4 of another bar over mousse.  Spread half of cool whip over toffee bars.

5. Repeat step 4 again so there are two layers of each ingredient.  

6. If you used about 3 and 3/4 bar for each toffee bar layer you will notice that you have about 1/2 of a toffee bar left.  I usually sprinkle this on top of the last layer of cool whip to show what is "inside" the dessert.

* This was actually the first time I had used a brownie mix over a cake mix.  I normally get the chocolate cake mix with pudding in mix.  Since I had brownie mix on hand I figured why not? I decided to follow the directions on the box for cake-like brownies.  I think next time I will use the directions for fudge brownies because the cake-like brownies were a little dry.

Enjoy!

17.11.09

Please Julia, Can I Have Some More?

I guess my love of cooking began with my love of eating. I have always loved food and was never a picky eater. I started cooking in elementary school and never stopped.

In middle school, someone made the mistake of getting me a camcorder much to the dismay of my family and friends. I recorded EVERYTHING. (Yes, three hours of my siblings opening Christmas presents would be an essential one day.)  But along with documenting real life, I began to record my own cooking shows. My dad's second wife started calling me "Julia" and as soon as I figured out who she was, I would even record some of my cooking shows while mimicking her distinct voice.

Through high school, I spent many hours in front of the tv watching the Food Network noting how many of the chefs mentioned Julia during their shows. One day, I thought, I will get a Julia Child cookbook and cook just like her.

When I was living in France for the semester, I tried to find a cookbook to bring home that encompassed all of French cooking.  This is nearly impossible without spending a fortune on a book like Larousse Gastromique since cuisine there is quite regional.  I still loved browsing the cookbook section of Mollat looking at all of the beautiful pictures and french words.  I spent hours there.  Although I love a Barnes and Nobles all the way down to your local private bookstore, there is just something ultimately sexy about a French bookstore.  I guess even books are sexier in France.  I have come to the conclusion it was best that I didn't get one there. One, I would have to do a little translation which I probably would have enjoyed. But I would have also had to do conversions of the measurements. Ick.

With the recent release of the movie, Julie & Julia, her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which she wrote with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck, has been everywhere.  But at a cover price of $40, I just couldn't justify buying it.

Last night, the BF and I went to Sam's to pick up some Heath bars for a dessert I was making (recipe to come later) and I decided to browse the cookbooks for a second.  And there she was in all of her "mastery" - at $25! I sat there for a moment and then picked her up and ran my fingers over her cover.  She was beautiful.  The BF walked down the aisle to find me holding her close to my chest with tears in my eyes.  (You think I am joking.  I'm not.)  

"What's that?" he asked.

"It's THE cookbook.  Julia!  It's Julia!  At $25!  It is normally $40!"  I could barely get my words out.

"I don't know what you are saying."  He says this to me a lot.

"That movie I dragged you to see with all of the old ladies."

"OH!  That cookbook."  He really gets me.

I held her close and walked down the aisle.  And then I remembered my promise to myself.  I wasn't supposed to be spending money on things I didn't need.  And although my heart was saying I needed her, my head knew that I didn't.  I put her in the BF's hands.

"Take her.  I shouldn't spend the money."  He turned the corner of the aisle and she was gone.

Today, I came home and checked the pork loin that had been in the crock pot all day.  It smelled delicious.  I turned away to go walk the dog and then something caught my eye.  I almost missed it.  It seemed like it should have been there all along.  Her beautiful turquoise cover with little white fleur-de-lis all in perfect little rows.  I almost cried. I love her but I think I might love him just a little bit more.

16.11.09

Avocado and Orange Salad

So I made empanadas and salad for dinner tonight but I burnt the bottoms. I am not sure if it was the fact that I used aluminum foil instead of the parchment paper that the recipe called for or the fact that I sprayed the aluminum foil with Pam. Besides the burnt bottoms, the boyfriend and I thought something was missing. We thought it was maybe the cloves I omitted since I didn't have any.


But then I realized - I FORGOT THE CHEESE!!! How could I forget about cheese!? So until I practice a little more on the recipe for the empanadas, I am not going to share it. Especially since I made some modifications. But I thought the salad came out pretty well so here it is:

AVOCADO-ORANGE SALAD

I got this recipe from a friend at work, Julie, who got it from Cooks Illustrated. It is a really refreshing and healthy.

1/4 cup lime juice from 2 limes
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 medium jalapaño chile, minced (I only used about 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup olive oil
table salt and ground black pepper (I rarely use table salt unless I am baking so I used Mediterranean sea salt)
romaine lettuce
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (they said to dry and stem them - I just stemmed them and threw them on the romaine)
1/2 medium onion sliced thin
1 avocado, halved and sliced
2 large oranges, segmented

1. Whisk lime juice, garlic, jalapaño, and orange zest together in a medium bowl; whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Put onion, avocado, and orange segments on top of romaine and cilantro. Pour dressing over top. (Recipe version - Pour all but 2 tablespoons over lettuce and cilantro; toss to coat. Toss onion and avocado in remaining dressing. Arrange onion, avocado, and segments over lettuce.)

The original dressing also called for 1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted in small dry skillet over medium heat until golden but I only had ground cumin so I decided to omit it. But if you have it toast it and throw it in there.

Enjoy!

12.11.09

what I need to rent now

There are plenty of cinematic works I have been meaning to see.  Some are more recent, so I am not that far behind, and some are from when I was in middle school.  If I had a whole weekend to lounge on the couch these are the top ten DVDs I would rent first:

1.  Coco Avant Chanel*
2.  The September Issue*
3.  Fight Club
4.  Paris, Je t'aime
5.  Ghosts of Girlfriends Past**
6.  Monsoon Wedding
7.  Up
8.  Revolutionary Road
9.  Milk
10. Season 5 of Alias***

* Ok, I am pretty sure the first two are not out on DVD yet, but obviously they did not come to the theater in Salisbury because it's Salisbury. I am anxiously awaiting their arrival to Redbox. Or are they not even going to come to the Redboxes in Salisbury? I guess I will have to get Netflix for a month.

** Yes, I know Matthew McConaughy is in this. But didn't you enjoy How to Lose A Guy in Ten Days?  (See number 10 for clarification on Jennifer Garner.)

*** I became hooked on Alias during my freshman year of high school on a weekend when ABC Family played a weekend-long marathon. After that I cried if I ever missed an episode. But I have a theory that Lost ruined Alias by taking away J.J. Abrams' attention, therefore making Alias way too weird. Season 5 began during my freshman year of college and its weirdness was no match for the OC parties everyone was having. But I still really want to know what exactly happened to Vaughn, Sydney, and their baby.

What DVDs have you been meaning to rent?

10.11.09

Sewing Marie

I joined a website called BurdaStyle a few months ago because you can get free sewing patterns. I have never sewed an article of clothing before and after piecing the pattern together today, I AM SO FRUSTRATED! Why are sewing patterns so confusing??

I bought this beautiful fabric at the fabric store this past weekend and I was so excited to sew it into Burda's beautiful Marie skirt and now I just want to cry. I don't like when inanimate objects make me feel stupid, but the paper pattern sitting on my dining room table right now is doing just that.

First off, how am I supposed to use the big piece I cut out? One for the front and one for the back of the skirt? Because that just makes it seem like the skirt is going to very asymmetrical and I know that isn't the way it is supposed to be. And why did I have to buy interfacing?

Maybe I just need to sleep on it. I bought fabric for lining so maybe I can start with that. Or maybe I need to go to the fabric store again and find the cheapest fabric I can find to practice with. But that just seems like a waste of my time. Why put in all of that work and effort and have nothing to show for it?

Has anyone else taught themselves to sew? Was it this frustrating at first?

Ok, ok, enough complaining. Have a good night! Tomorrow is hump day!

9.11.09

Bordeaux me manque

Today in spin class, my instructor was talking about biking through the vineyards of Bordeaux and it made miss living there.  Here is a top ten list of the things I miss (in no particular order):

1. Sushi and coffee dates with mon amie française, Jenny
2. Meeting new and fabulous people, French and foreign
3. Walking everywhere. Around a beautiful city.  And losing 15 pounds because of it.
6.  The feeling of newness everyday
7.  Eating a lot of great fresh food and pastries.  Followed by more food and pastries.
8. Gawking at all the beautiful people with their perfect hair, clothes and shoes
9.  Speaking french, bien sûr
10. After getting myself through yet another foreigner mishap (which happened almost daily), feeling like I could do anything

8.11.09

Specific Gravity: Pizzeria & Bottle Shop

On Saturday, we had some friends in town so we thought it would be a good night to try out the new pizza place in Salisbury, Specific Gravity. It is located on East College Avenue right behind SoBo's and next to Viva Espresso. We were hungry early so we went around 5 pm.

When you walk in, you encounter long bar tables with bar stools along with a small bar in the corner. Basically, unless you have a huge group of people, you are sharing a table with strangers but this really doesn't seem like it would be a problem unless the place is very crowded.  The only thing that bothered me was, when we got to the resto, there was a couple sitting next to each other so they could see the one tv since the game was on.  So instead of taking up two seats, they were essentially taking up four, which wouldn't have been a problem, except for when it started to get crowded there was a struggle for groups to find seats.  I really feel like the resto needs to add at least one more long table. Or perhaps another tv?

On the left side there is an empty area that will soon be a bottle shop.  I am pretty exited to see how it turns.

Now onto food and beverage.  (Just a side note: I drink beer but I prefer wine.  I LOVE pizza.  I like wings but I am not always in the mood.)  The restaurant has a big chalkboard on the wall displaying their beers.  It is always changing but they always have a selection of Evolution beers, which comes from a local brewery in Delmar, Delaware.  They have the bitterness next to each beer which is helpful for a girl like me who cannot really handle a very bitter beer. We decided to all share a pitcher ($15) of Evolution's Primal Pale Ale to start.  I like this but, again, I am not a beer drinker so that is really all I can say about it.  We had another beer after that, which was too bitter for me.  The name escapes me.

Boyfriend and his friend, Devin, got Buffalo wings to start.  They seemed to enjoy them.  You can choose what type of preparation you want (Jerk, Whitehaven, Buffalo, Chipotle Honey BBQ, Key Largo) and what type of sauce (Honey Cilantro Mustard, Bleu Cheese, Ranch, Chipotle Honey BBQ).  The chalkboard has a off-the-menu wing as well - Saturday's was Garlic and Herb.  One pound of wings are $8.50 and two pounds are $15.

Devin's fiancé, Chrissy, and I got salads to start.  You can get a single for $4 or a share for $7. Chrissy got a Caprese salad with tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil and a balsamic reduction.  It was beautifully stacked with huge pieces of mozzarella and tomatoes.  Chrissy seemed to really enjoy it.  I got a Greek salad (no olives) with lettuce, tomato, artichoke heart, red onion, feta, fresh herbs (which I did not see) and balsamic.  They also adding pieces of fresh bread which really put me over the edge - anything with fresh bread automatically is better in my book.  I think they could have used better lettuce though.  My salad was not as beautifully presented as Chrissy's but it tasted pretty good and was still pretty large for a single.

The pizzas come in either a personal pizza with four pieces or a larger pizza with six.  The pizzas range in price from $4.50 to $15 depending on the size and type of pizza.  We all got personal pizzas.  The guys each got a Cheeseburger pizza topped with ground beef, green peppers, onions, fries and a thick crust.  They both said that it was decent but could use more ground beef and less cheese.  Chrissy got a Bruschetta Pomodoro pizza with diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, fresh mozzarella and basil.  She said that it had way too much cheese and could have used more toppings.  I got the Mushroom and Onion pizza.  I think the sautéed onions made the pizza too greasy, especially with the exorbitant amount of cheese.

I will probably go back in a couple months once they have been open for awhile.  Since I am not a beer girl, I am hoping the pizzas get better.  Note to the chef: Less cheese is more.

5.11.09

a favorite variation on eggs: bacon and egg casserole

Along with my french toast casserole, I often make bacon and egg casserole if I will be having a group of people over for breakfast, just in case some prefer savory over sweet.  I got this recipe a few years ago from a co-worker who often brought in yummy treats for breakfast.

Bacon and Egg Casserole

6 slices of bread (crusts removed)
4 Tablespoons of butter
2 cups shredded sharp cheese
5 eggs, beaten well
2 cups half & half
1 jar of real bacon pieces
1 teaspoon salt

1.  Melt butter in 9 x 13 glass baking dish.
2.  Tear bread into pieces & sprinkle over the melted butter.
3.  Sprinkle bacon pieces over bread pieces.
4.  Sprinkle cheese over bacon.
5.  Beat eggs with half & half and salt; pour over mixture.
6. Cover and chill 8 hours over night.
7.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until set.

* Just a word of caution, make sure you get the jar of real bacon pieces NOT bacon bits.

3.11.09

a breakfast favorite: french toast casserole

So the other day a friend asked me if I had any breakfast recipes that you can make the day before.  There are two recipes I use when I have a group sleeping over but I don't want to wake up super early and slave away to make breakfast. Baked Apple French Toast is one of these recipes.

My mom actually got this recipe from a Weight Watchers cookbook and started making it some time in the 90s.  Eventually it became my job to make it.  My mom lost the cookbook but I found the recipe online about two years ago.

It is nice because you can make it the morning of, but I think it is better if it sits overnight. (I have even made it the afternoon before.)  I actually add a little more butter on top towards the end of baking.  I guess that makes it a little less "Weight Watchers" but who cares anyways?

Sorry I don't have any pictures.

Baked Apple French Toast

2 apples, peeled and diced (I normally use some type of green apple)
4 slices of bread, cubed (I know that the old recipe called for wheat or multigrain and I think it gives it more flavor that way)
3 Tablespoons of brown sugar, divided
2 teaspoons of cinnamon, divided
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1 Tablespoon of butter
3 Tablespoons of flour (I think the recipe calls for a little much so don't be heavy handed)

1.  Mix eggs, milk, 1 t. cinnamon, 1 T. brown sugar together. Add apples and bread to mixture.
2.  In a different bowl, mix together 1 t. cinnamon, 2 T. brown sugar and flour.  Cut in butter.
3.  If making the night before, store in two different bowls and combine the next day.  If eating immediately put wet mixture in bread pan and sprinkle with butter mixture.
4. Bake at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes.  (I don't like mine to make soggy, so sometimes I bake a little longer.)

Enjoy!

28.10.09

maybe a slimming favorite?

I have a dress that I bought two summers ago to wear to a friends wedding that my boyfriend really likes (and that I do too!)  It is black with a blue and grey flower pattern and actually has a straps (so I can wear a bra!) but it is very form fitting.  VERY form fitting.  I really wanted to wear the dress in Orlando but with the recent weight gain, it was not going to happen.

But should we not be allowed those tiny dresses just because of a little weight gain?  That doesn't seem fair.  Enter Hanes Smooth Illusions Go Figure.  Its bodywear "that makes everything you wear look better" according to the packaging.

Although buying it made me feel like I was 50, I decided to give it a try.  It should come with a warning: will take 10 minutes to get on your body, may need help getting it up.  My boyfriend came in the room because there was so much grunting and moaning to get this tight little thing to move up my body.

And yes it did smooth everything.  While standing the dress looked infinitely better.  Sitting was a different story.  I guess when a dress is tight, it is tight.  So knowing I would be eating a big yummy dinner, I went with a different dress.  (I am also not quite sure how I would have done in the heat with the bodywear.)  But I am definitely keeping this in my drawer for a rainy day.

20.10.09

flights to Orlando - definitely a favorite

I have to wake up bright and early tomorrow for a flight to Orlando. Yay!

Of course I realized TODAY that all my sandals were in a terrible state. And to make matters worse, Salisbury doesn't really have many choices when it comes to shoe shopping so I knew that finding out of season shoes was probably not going to happen. My quick trip to Marshall's, Ross, and Macy's proved this to be true. Oh well, maybe I will find something in Florida.

But I did buy a very interesting undergarment. I will clue you in on how it goes. Oh and get your mind out of the gutter. Think less Victoria Secret and more Bridget Jones Diary.

Have a good night!

19.10.09

not a favorite: ripping out hair

Girls are so silly. We wash. We exfoliate. We shave. We shampoo. We condition. We dry. We suck in. We deodorize. We moisturize. We spritz. And that's just in the morning.

We spend money on dyeing our hair.  And we frequent the "beauty" counters.  We pay someone to push out our pimples.

And quite honestly I think that is all well and good.  Whatever makes you feel fabulous, do it.

This year, I promised myself I would take better care of face and skin.  Less make up, more moisturizer and exfoliant type products.  (Side note - look in a French woman's bathroom.  She hardly has any make up but tons of what I like to call "take care of me" products, like moisturizers, toners, eye creams, etc).

So while pondering how I was going to treat myself before my vacation to Orlando this week, I went back and forth between a bikini wax and a facial.  Considering I can't afford to have a facial every month like you are supposed to, this should have been the obvious choice given my promise to myself.  But the idea of not shaving during bikini clad weather was very exciting as well.  I decided to go with the latter. 

I had never gotten a bikini wax before so I called the spa to find out the differences between all the kinds they offered.  (I decided since someone was going to indeed see my va la la, asking brainless questions over the phone was one of the least embarrassing parts of the experience.)

The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi I would like to make an appointment for a [slight pause and decrease in volume] bikini wax.

Day and time are exchanged.

Me:  So what exactly is the difference between the regular bikini wax and the French bikini wax?

Woman on Phone:  A bikini wax is right at the bikini line and the French wax is two fingers in.

Ok two fingers in didn't sound that bad.  I measured it in my head.  The Brazilian question could be held for another day.

Me:  Sign me up for the French bikini.

Sunday, I went in for my appointment.  They took me into a nice room with soothing music and asked me to take off my pants [Insert that's what she said joke] and put on a disposable thong.  I am not really sure why they ask you to wear the thong since you can see everything underneath but I guess that it is just to make the waxee feel more comfortable.

She explained the different types of waxes she would be using and started to make small talk.  Funny enough, it felt quite natural having her tell me how to spread my legs and pour hot liquid on my hoohah while I talked about where I was from.  I guess that means she is good at her job.

The hair removal at the beginning was not that bad.  She just waxed where my semi-tanned skin meets my never-seen-the-light-of-day skin.  I found out she had gone to my high school but graduated ten years before me.  We talked about how she ended up in Salisbury and how I met my boyfriend.

Then she told me she was going to switch to the hard wax for the thicker hair.  She said that most people preferred the hard wax.  All I could think was wow, this is going to get easier?  This is awesome!

Riiiiippppp.  

"Did you like that better?" She asked.  

OH Jesus FUCKKKK! 

"Yea that wasn't too terrible."

This went on for an excruciating forty-five minutes.  And when the lady over the phone said two fingers in she lied.  She really meant only a little tuff of hair would be left which ideally I would have wanted but while laying there getting my vajay jay hair ripped out, I really didn't.  Two fingers in meant I had to fight back tears for forty-five minutes.

I got home and my boyfriend jumped up from his seat.

Him: Let me see it.

Me: No you really don't want to see it.  It is all red and bumpy. And my va la la is not her for your entertainment. [Insert other thats what she said joke].

Him: Come on, let me see.

All he could get out was that noise people make when they pass a really horrible looking car crash.

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening walking around the house with absolutely nothing on down below which was kind of chilly for a day in October.  Luckily, I will be in Orlando soon.  I should have gotten the facial.


14.10.09

following dead bodies: not a favorite

It is a very grey day here.  It seems like it would be a perfect day to follow a dead body on my way out of work.

I have always had a terrible relationship with needles.  My first experience with the painful suckers which I can remember was at the age of five.  I had to get my blood drawn and during the entire process I screamed.  And screamed.  And screamed.  Needless to say, I got many stares on my way out of the doctor's office.

I learned to fight back after that.  In the second grade, I had to get a shot.  I was a very skinny child and if back then you were in the business of fighting children, you probably would have said something to yourself like, "Oh I can take that!"  Well the 250 pound nurse had to sit on me to get the needle in my arm.

By fourth grade, I had learned that one way or another the needle in my arm was going to happen so I should make nice with the nurses.  I passed out one day and had to go to the hospital where they had to take my blood.  I found myself alone in the room with the nurse.

I warned the nurse, "I am afraid of needles.  You will need some back up."  She was a small women.

"Oh Dear, I think I will be okay.  You just need to keep your arm still."

"No, I don't think you understand.  I can't keep my arm still once you start getting the needle ready.  I may even try to swat it away.  Or I may hit you."

"Well I can hold your arm while I do it."

"Tell that to the 250 pound nurse who had to sit on me two years ago."

She promptly left the room and brought back Candy, another small women, but one with a deathly grip.

I really avoid the doctors at all cost, especially when it will involve a needle.  And really, at a certain age, there is no one to tell you to go to the doctors.  But I can tell you that when forced to go, I resort to acting as if I am five.  In college, my boyfriend forced me to go to the flu clinic at the request of my parents.  He had to coax me with ice cream.  My French prof ended up having to hold my hand.  (Yes, my pride goes out the window when needles are present.)

But today I realized how far I have come in adulthood.  Two weeks ago I voluntarily went to the flu clinic at work.  I work in a hospital and although I don't do anything clinical I feel like it is my responsibility to protect those around me who actually do work with patients.  (Okay, okay.  My coworker did hold my hand but I was the one who reminded her about getting the flu shot.)  And today I followed a dead body out of work as he was wheeled away by the funeral director.


12.10.09

a favorite vogue "most wanted"

Every morning I start off with a little piece of Garance Doré.  For some reason her fantastic street style blog puts me in a really good mood.  After reading it regularly over the past couple of months, I am absolutely obsessed.

So I was really excited when Vogue featured her "Most Wanted" pieces.  Check it out on the Vogue website.  

Bonjour Tristesse is on her list, a book I read in college French.  I love Kiehl's products but I have to say I have not tried their hair products.  Maybe they will work on my curly hair?  And that Sophia Coppola bag is beautiful.

11.10.09

a sparkly 80s favorite: diy madonna costume blazer

Since I will be out of town pretty much right before Halloween this year, I knew I had to figure out my costume a little earlier.  I figured I would go 80s AGAIN this year.  I must really be obsessed with the 80s.  Three years ago I was an 80s aerobic instructor and one year in high school I was Madonna.
I decided to do Madonna again which I guess is kind of stupid since I have been her once before but that was many many years ago and I was going to do a very different outfit.  I decided to find a blazer at Goodwill that had huge shoulder pads and that I could decorate similarly to the blazer Madonna is wearing in this picture:

madonna1566641.jpg


I knew I wasn't going to copy the picture exactly (I wanted it to be much crazier and much more sparkly) but this is basically what I was trying to accomplish.  This is what I came up with:

I used glue and glitter to get the sparkly stripes.  I just glued printed satin to the lapels and cuffs and just folded the fabric underneath and glued.  I took off the black button and added a gold 80s looking button.

Here is what else I have to complete my costume:
* black shiny spandex pants
* black lacy corset top
* sparkly fabric to make a bow in my hair
* black suede heeled booties
* gold cross earrings
* black lace gloves
* lots of chains and bracelets

Now I just have to figure out what to do with my hair and what to do for make up...

5.10.09

a new favorite guide to cooking: phoo-d

Yum. MmMmhhh. Oooh! Yes!  I found my Salisbury, Maryland food solution!!!  

Okay, okay.  I know.  Its really not that bad here.  It really isn't.  But I grew up in Baltimore and had my weekend stints visiting my dad right outside of DC.  In other words, I had a lot of great inexpensive restos to choose from and an eclectic amount of grocery stores to oogle at yummy food.  (Oh and that semester in Bordeaux didn't help with the deadening the taste buds either).

Besides the limited amount of restaurants here, I also find that it is sometimes hard to quench my cooking habit.  A lot of the more interesting recipes that I come across have ingredients that are hard to find in this area or there just aren't great places to find high quality ingredients (at least not at a price for a recent college grad). I have learned to be pretty creative but it always helps to have a little extra advice.  

Enter the fabulous blog Phoo-d, a blog about "Food for Anyone with an Address."  It is written by a woman who has moved to a place with "one, two, three good restaurants, one decent grocery store, and of course a Wal-Mart Superstore."

There are fabulous photos that look so yummy I can't wait to get started trying out the recipes.  And we have two super Wal-Marts.  So if she can do it, so can I! Right?