Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cream of the Crop 2010

Now is the most appropriate time for a commemorative list for 2010. It would be much more challenging and thought-provoking to list obstacles I've overcome, or highlights of my life, but not nearly as fun as products. So here I present to you my top Products of 2010, because sometimes I just want to hang out at the makeup counters.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Mosturizer

This moisturizer has quickly become a sidekick of sorts. This is always the go-to if my skin is dry or acting up, it handles both situations profoundly. It battles the cold weather that dries out my skin and never clogs any pores (because that's disgusting). 


When my hair, skin, and nails need a little boost, this is where I turn. Two or three times a year I will indulge in this little miracle. Inside this purple tub, you will find sets of three vitamins individually packaged, you take one set everyday for 30 days, and then walk on water.

Lancome Effacernes 
Waterproof Undereye Concealer
This was a college discovery. It at least made me look alive during finals and lasted through rather late nights socializing, but I didn't fully appreciate it until this year. I tried a few others and caught myself slowly turning back to what remained in this original concealer love. The coverage is flawless, because that's possible.

Bobbi Brown Long-wear Gel Eyeliner

Enter the dramatic eye. Bobbi Brown has been an obsession since high school, but this is a recent 2010 discovery. Love this little pot of sophistication.

Well that's a good dose of beauty for now, thanks for reading my rambling and let me know what products I should check out in the big 2011!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I recommend this book

The holidays always provide ample time for me to catch up on the stacks of books laying around my apartment. Last week, I was finally able to start (and finish) The Help. It seems to be on everyone's reading list and now I can see why. The story was fantastic, down to the last page and the characters truly came to life. The novel takes you into the lives of women living in Jackson Mississippi and the dichotomy of black and white women during the 1960s. There was also an interesting underlying struggle with one of the main characters, a recent college graduate, under pressure to have her life figured out and meet social expectations (marriage) at 24, which is still a rather prevalent attitude in the the Big D.

I highly recommend this book.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

1099 May Take Down the Health Care Overhaul

Disclaimer: In an effort to garner some personal excitement in my day job at a political organization, I will be discussing politics today. This may or may not be a trend. 
But here's some flowers I painted that are much more blog-worthy:

The 1099 Tax Reporting Requirement. Unless you own a small business, it is unlikely this keeps you up at night. This unpopular provision would reportedly raise $19.1 billion to fund the Health Care Law passed earlier this year. (Yes, this post will be about a tax law, beyond interesting.) The 1099 requirement is set to go into effect in 2012. Under this reporting requirement, businesses must file a 1099 form with the Internal Revenue Service identifying any expenses of $600 or more with a vendor, supplier or contractor.

"We have a year and a half to fix 1099. We have no more time to fix small businesses," said Senate Small Business Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

Democrats and Republicans identify the burden this provision places on businesses, particularly small business, but little can compete with the $19.1 billion generated by added tax payments to help pay for the new health care coverage. Many Republicans, and possibly Democrats, identify that a fight over the 1099 tax requirement will ignite efforts to slowly unravel the health care law.

"We are going to do it a little bit at a time until we can repeal the whole thing and start all over," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX).

This elusive provision may be the stilt bracing the health care overhaul, and it may also be the first attack of the Republicans in the new Congress. Repealing the health care overhaul was a Republican rallying cry during the mid-term elections, but with Obama's veto power and the Democrat-controlled Senate, the goal faces many hurdles. The administration is moving quickly to implement the law, which makes a repeal increasingly difficult and expensive. But, without the 1099 tax reporting requirement, the health care law becomes difficult to justify in the budget.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Where's your Christmas Spirit?

The article, Atheists Bus Ads Rattle Fort Worth, was featured in a newspaper last week. When I saw the accompanying picture, I could not help but laugh. There is a truck that was hired to follow around the city bus provoking thoughts of the "I think I Can" Thomas the Tank Engine. The tenacity is impressive and lovable. An Atheist organization in Ft. Worth raised money specifically for advertising on city buses. The ads were suppose to appear over 4th of July, but they had trouble raising money. This leads me to believe that they are putting all of their funds into some passive-aggressive fight, which is not productive. 
After religious organization fought the atheist advertisements, the city ruled that religious advertisements were no longer allowed to appear on city buses. This makes sense in the same way that religion is kept out of public schools. 

But, here's my issue with the whole matter: why promote a message meant to dispel a person's belief? "Millions of people are good without God," the ad states. Then, why the need to proclaim it? If you are fully satisfied in your rationale and reasoning, there should not be a lingering desire to now "convert", for lack of a better term, those who still have faith in a God. Religion is an important aspect of our culture and to many it is an indispensable part of their lives. Energy spent trying to take that away from someone who is not physically or emotionally harming you is an utter waste, and does much more harm than good. Let them believe, let them be, and stop acting jealous.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Texas Chowder

This week the weather really threw Texas for a loop, by being normal. The temperature dropped to the 30s, a common winter degree, but my body/immune system was not quite prepared. Luckily, I made a ginormous pot of Texas Chowder. This soup has soothed my sore throat and warmed my soul for the last few days and I will now share the secret. It's modified from a recipe I got out of the newspaper, because I still read them and pretend technology is a passing fad.

Texas Chowder, yum.
1 onion, chopped
4 Tbl. butter
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can Cream of Potato condensed soup (and 1 can full of water)
3 cups milk (2%)
3 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbl. Paprika
1 Tbl. dried thyme, basil, oregano (Italian seasoning)
1/2 cup green onions
2 (16oz) cans of Cream-style Corn
1 lb. sausage
3 cups Cheddar Cheese

Saute onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic in butter for 5 minutes. Add Cream of Potato Soup (with one can full of water), milk, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and Italian seasoning.Simmer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, brown sausage. Add sausage to soup along with the corn, green onions and salt/pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes and then add 2 cups Cheddar Cheese. Serve warm and top with Cheddar cheese and green onions!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

book note

Dear One Day, a novel by David Nicholls,

You are being abandoned. Many books go down the road that leads to my forgotten books pile, with the whimpering hope of a bookmark somewhere near the middle. 

I tried, really I did, but you are boring, predictable, and unimaginative. Dexter and Emma do not warrant empathy and while random cultural touchstones are interesting, it's not enough to carry a book. Why you are on the 100 Notable Books of 2010 in the New York Times is simply beyond me. I don't get it. Unless taking you to the beach dulls my mind enough to enjoy the lacking storyline. 

Frankly, I have better things to do (like watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills). This was affirmed last night when I started reading The Help and couldn't put it down. So, One Day, I bid you adieu, now find a place to be forgotten. Thanks.


warm the soul, cure the cold, eat something delicious!

Homemade Chicken Soup
This started out as one recipe, but then I modified it with another recipe, and then I didn't want to follow directions anymore, so it became my very own recipe! (and could have easily been a complete disaster, but I recommend it-the recipe and experimenting)

1 roasting chicken
12 cups of water
2 tbl. salt
pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
2 carrots
1 stalk celery
3 green onions
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup flat parsely
4 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp. garlic pepper
1 tsp. onion powder

Bring 12 cups of water to a boil and then add whole chicken, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Simmer for 30 minutes and then add wine, vegetables and remaining spices. Simmer for another 45 minutes. Remove chicken with tongs (heavy-duty, the chicken is heavy and the soup is rather hot), turn heat off of soup, and place chicken on a plate to cool. Once the chicken is cool, pull into large strips and discard the bones (and give the skin to George because he's the cutest dog there is). Add the chicken back to the soup and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Serve! Perhaps with a side of saltines.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

holiday gifts for everyone!

1. 10 West, my favorite Etsay shop, gorgeous, unique, affordable and local.
2. Warby Parker, the company donates a pair of glasses for every pair sold.
3. I-phone case, wish I had this before I cracked the screen on my i-phone.
4.Tiffany Notes, Dream a little dream bangle, beautiful words always make great gifts.
5. Emile Henry Flame Pizza Stone, perfect crust for the homemade pizza lover in you.
6.Cannabis Santal Eau de Parfum, love this scent, even though it's meant for him.
8. Bobbi Brown 'Sparkle Glamour' Eye Quad, gorgeous holiday sparkle.
9. Loeffler Randall Classic Flat Boots, the search for the perfect boots ends here.
10. Deborah Lippmann 'Layer Cake' Nail Color Trio, because who finishes a bottle of nail polish?
When I was little, my mom would always ask what I wanted and then tell me that's what I should get for my friends. So here are my wishes everyone, and they should please just about anyone, or, more specifically, any girl.
And soup update coming soon!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Soup weather!

I am craving soup. Thank you cold weather. (And by cold I mean 50 degrees, Texas cold.) There is something rather cathartic about cooking up a pot of soup, allowing the smells to infiltrate every room, and then settling in to share and enjoy the delicious warmth with friends and family.

This desperate need has left me scouring every soup recipe available on the internet. I'm now starving, and probably stopping by Central Market on the way home. And it will be a wonderful evening!

Here are the results:
Ginger-Pumpkin Soup

Chicken Tomatillo Chili

Roasted Tomato-Harissa Soup (with Olive toasts!)

Chicken Stew with Kale
And then, two recipes from my latest Food Network obsession, Barefoot Contessa! The pictures did not do the recipes justice, so they were left out.
Roasted Potato Leek Soup
And, in the event that I feel overly ambitious about my Soup adventures:
Lobster Corn Chowder

Monday, November 29, 2010

endearing misspellings

I don't know how I got home. Bruno must have heard me unlock the door, because a minutes later he came downstairs and knocked. I didn't answer. I was sitting in the dark in the chair by the window. He kept knocking. Finally I heard him go back upstairs. An hour or more passed and then I heard him on the stairs again. He slid a piece of paper under the door.
-excerpt from The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

How sweet is that? These two old men live next to each other, essentially encouraging the other to keep on living even though their both on their last leg. It's pretty adorable.
I cannot get enough of this book.
My indecisiveness is in full force. I'm on my third essay regarding this book, each time tackling my topic from a different angle hoping it clicks the way I want it to. I'm crossing my fingers that this one pans out, but am really enjoying little excerpts like the above. In the spirit of the recent holiday, I'm thankful that The History of Love lends itself nicely to multiple reads and that I'm not tired of ol' Krauss just yet.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Book fad

Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day avoiding reality and reading in bed while George curled up next to me. It was heaven. My book of choice was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. The beginning was dull and drawn out, so my advice is to go ahead and skip to page 32. Seeing that I hardly retained any information from the first 30 pages because my mind kept wandering off to more interesting things, you won't miss anything. But, after crossing that hurdle, the novel propels forward with a unique story and fantastic characters. This murder mystery is not predictable and the last half of the book is near impossible to set aside. It is easy to see why this book has become so popular and is worth reading, particularly on a trip where you can finish it quickly. I plan on watching the movie soon, which is always a nice bonus after reading a great book.

The last 100 pages annoy me. The mystery is solved and the story keeps developing as if there is going to be one last twist, but, alas, the plot has no more twists or even turns, just subtly ends with vague disappointment.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

just another day in the life of awesome

yes! If you have not checked out Taylor Swift's new CD, you really should. Kid Cudi's is good too and gives me street cred proceeding that middle school selection.

In other news, I will be at the dentist today, which will not be great. But I will recover on my comfy sofa watching RH-Beverly Hills with cocktails and a good friend, which will be great!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

madam mix-a-lot


There are three happiness killers:
doing work you do not love and are not passionate about,
surrounding yourself with people who you do not really like
(someone who just fills time),
and living somewhere that does not let you be you.

Just stop it.
Life is far too short.
- Richard Florida

I'm having a hard time with this right now.
So, I need to mix it up, like Sir Mix-a-lot, but without the Sir, maybe Madam, yes
Madam Mix-A-Lot
I need to...
do something I love, with lots of enthusiasm,
surround myself with good people, preferably hilarious,
and move out of Dallas.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wine for Thanksgiving

The wine choices for my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving! I don't remember having wine or any other type of alcohol at Thanksgiving growing up, but the past few years have been nicely complemented by a few glasses of red wine. My aunt started bringing a seasonal bottle the past couple of years, that is at it's peak during the week of Thanksgiving. I love this idea and think it's a great tradition that our family continues to embrace. Here are some selections for this holiday season!

Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio 2008 or 2009
White Wine tends to be more of a crowd pleaser and Pinot Grigio is one of my (and Ramona's!) favorites. A light and refreshing white wine is a definite favorite for the Thanksgiving holiday. Santa Margherita has a good reputation and Mariah Carey reportedly requested it for one of her photo shoots, so it was a natural choice.

Ravenswood 2008 Petite Sirah Vintners Blend is one of our top picks for Thanksgiving wine.
Ravenswood 2008 Petite Sirah
This spicy wine would go well with Turkey and all the other savories of Thanksgiving dinner. It was recommended in multiple articles and I always like to add something new to the mix.

Dona Paula Los Cardos Malbec 2008
Argentinian wine will always hold a special place in my heart. Malbec has a bold taste, but is so perfect with red meat that it leaves you wondering why you would drink anything else. Before I went to Argentina, I discovered this Dona Paula Los Cardos wine and fell in love. It's readily available and very reasonably priced, a great option if you plan on entertaining many red wine lovers.
Last night was lovely. No, I'm not stuck in a Victorian-era romance novel, but it was indeed a lovely night. When my original plans of dinner with the girls fell through, I enjoyed a quite dinner with candles lit and a good book. George was fast asleep on the couch (snoring like a train), the windows were open and letting in a cool breeze; everything was simple, peaceful and calm. I love nights like that. This morning was a continuation of this, while I took George on an early morning walk and sipped some freshly brewed coffee as I got ready for the day. Usually I sleep as long as possible and rush George outside, with barely a moment for mascara, much less coffee.
While these moments are nice, it's hard not to miss Jeff who has been traveling the last three weeks, Sunday-Friday. It's a much different routine when he's gone and there are many things I miss.

I miss cooking dinner and trying out new recipes.
Hugs in the morning and kisses at night.
I miss when he walks in from work and George shakes uncontrollably with excitement.
Laughing for hours and then reminiscing only to laugh again.
I just miss my Principe.

But I'm enjoying these quiet nights and anticipating every weekend!

Monday, November 8, 2010

fall turns to winter

It's time for fire in the fireplace,
Pumpkin spice lattes,
Peppermint hot chocolate,
And lipstick to complement this pale skin-tone I've gradually acquired.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Running Song

A huge motivation for me to work out is a new playlist. I'm able to focus on the lyrics and really enjoy a new song in its entirety. Often car tunes (cartoons!) quickly succumb to road rage and I don't enjoy the music, so I usually defer to the radio for traffic updates. But that's neither here nor there. One of the most motivating running songs is Dog Days Are Over by Florence and The Machine. When I looked up the lyrics, my love multiplied:

Happiness hit her like a train on a track
Coming towards her stuck still no turning back
She hid around corners and she hid under beds
She killed it with kisses and from it she fled
With every bubble she sank with her drink
And washed it away down the kitchen sink

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind
You cant carry it with you if you want to survive

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses?
Because here they come

And I never wanted anything from you
Except everything you had and what was left after that too, oh
Happiness hit her like a bullet in the head
Struck from a great height by someone who should know better than that

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses?
Because here they come

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your loving, your loving behind
You cant carry it with you if you want to survive

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses?
Because here they come

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Uptown Run

This morning I ran 5 miles (in 41 minutes!) and realized why I love races so much. Even early in the morning there is so much love and support from strangers, cheering everyone on as they run by. I had this great idea to start an organization that would train people who are unhappy with their lives for long-distance running. Seriously, it makes sense. A whole city is cheering you on as you race through the streets. What is more encouraging than that? Well, I thought it was a good idea.

Regardless of whether the idea pans out, it was a fantastic experience, I got my workout on, and Jeff met me at the end with flowers! It was wonderful to see him support me in the little things.

Saturday, October 23, 2010



Dear morning,

It makes sense that every day would start this way.

The clarity and peace brought to anxiety.

The wind is blowing a calm breeze through the cracked door.

George is chewing a filthy toy, while I drink pumpkin-vanilla coffee.

The soft buzz of football is in the other room.

I'm wrapped in a warm, cozy sweater.

Everything is still, and perfect.

You're perfect.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"When you're younger, you want to be perfect, but later you learn that perfect isn't really that interesting." -Susan Sarandon

amen sista.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I need a distraction. Some fantastic news revealed itself last week, almost dream-like. Giddy with excitement, I began making plans. But it's not yet a done deal. It's in the process and completely out of my hands. Thank goodness. If it was in my hands I would probably be making a rash fool of myself to make it happen.
So I need a distraction to help time quickly pass.

Like that turquoise charm hanging from her bracelet.
Like that blue mat.
Like that ship chandelier.
Like yellow flowers in your hair.

Expect the unexpected. But be patient.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nerd Alert

Things I love:
The Social Network (Facebook Movie)
The Social Network
The Social Network is a great movie about a defining aspect of today's culture. David Fincher did an incredible job directing this movie that could have easily disappointed. I was skeptical, immediately thinking that a movie about something so trite could only be dull. But all the elements came together: good script, good acting, good directing. It's worth seeing particularly for the generation that has grown up with Facebook.


Dear Glee,
I'm in love with you. Every time I watch an episode I get goosebumps. I giggle at the TV when no one else is around with no shame. The characters are endearing and the music is incredible and I don't care who makes fun of me for loving every moment of it.
Forever Yours,

The Sun Also Rises:
I read this book in high school and while it was great then, it is even better today. I'm a little sad it's taken me this long to rediscover it, but I'm glad it finally happened.

I would go on, but this post is getting nerdier by the minute. I promise I'm cool and don't just sit inside alone watching Glee and reading Hemingway.
Pinkie Promise.
I quit.
not cool.

Friday, October 1, 2010

from THE TWITSby Roald Dahl  tanjatheawesome:jeniopia:everyoneelseisupstairs:sparklerdims:colorsofthewind:kim-asterisk:(via lovewalk)
I am in love with this.
There's something so simple, enduring and true within the pages of children's books.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

sad day

As you may or may not have heard, there was a shooting on the UT Campus this morning. It's a terrible tragedy that someone would bring, and much less fire, firearms onto that beautiful campus. There are so many young, intelligent and promising students there and to endanger any of their precious lives leaves me speechless.

This is too near to my heart to not let it shake me up a little. I went to that school. I walked all over that campus. And I worked in the library where the shooter took his own life. I shelved books on the 6th floor, where his body now lies. Now, I'm sitting here, at work, three hours away, shaking. My boyfriend is on that campus. He's there recruiting students for his company. My boyfriend is in lock-down across the street from where everything took place right now. He saw the shooter. He saw him. My boyfriend had to sprint into the business school building, while an armed crazy person walked around with a gun.

I'm sorry, but I can't quite digest all of this right now. Please cherish life and your loved ones and keep the students and campus of UT in your thoughts today. Stay safe Austin, I love you.

Where I worked last year and where the gunman took his own life today:

Friday, September 24, 2010

a book I love

To anyone who believe's in the power of books, or any written word, Nicole Krauss's second novel The History of Love explores this concept in an original and fascinating way, entangling multiple lives that finally intersect at the end. A novel within a novel, The History of Love brought two people together in Spain, left a girl searching for the character she was named after, and revealed to another author who his biological father was, but all without the author's knowledge.

Simply put, "He fell in love. It was his life." The fictional tale of a man who wrote The History of Love without any expectations is deeply moving. Every endearing character is described through stories of their own life experiences, because, ultimately, isn't it the stories that make up a person? He touched many lives with lasting and overwhelming influence, by simply pouring his heart out on the page, without hesitation. To let go, to feel, to love.
I just finished this book, and could not wait to share a quick, little review of it, the book just left me so giddy inside. There are times the plot gets a bit confusing (switching points of view, timelines, entangling relatives), but plow through and it will all come together. The reward is great!
I recommend to everyone.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Death of English

To English majors or grammar nerds:
Below the Beltway

This article will make you cleverly laugh. To say anything else would be to spoil the article. I'm also a little self-conscious of my own grammar right now.

It was not immediately clear to what degree the English language will be mourned, or if it will be mourned at all. In the United States, English has become increasingly irrelevant, particularly among young adults. Once the most popular major at the nation's leading colleges and universities, it now often trails more pragmatic disciplines, such as economics, politics, government, and, ironically, "communications," which increasingly involves learning to write mobile-device-friendly ads for products like Cheez Doodles.

Many people interviewed for this obituary appeared unmoved by the news, including Anthony Incognito of Crystal City, a typical man in the street.

"Between you and I," he said, "I could care less."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bill Hicks - It's Just a Ride

"Don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because it's just a ride."

It's Fall! Let's eat!

It's the last day of summer! Which calls for some fall goodness. Here are a few fall recipes I've tackled over the past couple of days...

Pumpkin Enchiladas!
Now pumpkin has always been a favorite of mine, but it's usually in a sweet variety (pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin spice lattes!). So, this recipe intrigued me. Could my favorite flavor also come in a hearty variety? Yes, ladies and gentleman, it can. Last night I gave it a shot, and the result was phenomenal!
I fell in love, Jeff fell in love, George, well, George wanted to fall in love. It's super simple, healthy and only took about 30 minutes to prepare and cook.

The Details:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
10 oz can of enchilada sauce
1 can pure pumpkin
10 oz chicken, cooked and shredded
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. (at least) cumin
1 tbsp. cayenne (or chili) powder
3 or 4 tbsp. Siracha Sauce
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup Mexican Blend cheese
1 package whole wheat tortillas
1 avocado (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Sauté onion and garlic in a pan with olive oil.
Stir in enchilada sauce.
Add pumpkin and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper (or garlic pepper).
Add cilantro, cumin, cayenne powder and siracha sauce (yummy)!
Spread a light layer of sauce on the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×9 pan.
Fill tortillas with an even amount of sauce and chicken.
Roll tortillas and place in the pan with the folded edges facing down to keep them closed.
Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese melts.
Serve with fresh avocado.
Next up. Macaroni and Cheese!

I've had this recipe for a while and finally made it on Sunday. It's a little more labor intensive than the Enchiladas, but definitely worth it, if you can spare some patience and coordinate multiple saucepans.

Wild Mushroom Macaroni and Three Cheeses with Truffle Oil (or a little taste of heaven)
1 1/2 c. mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
3 cups milk
4 oz. herb chevre
4 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
4 oz. parmigiano reggiano, shredded
1 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. fresh sage, minced
2-3 tbsp white truffle oil
2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup panko
10 oz elbow pasta
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a large saute pan with 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the mushrooms to the pan and saute for 7-10 minutes or until the mushrooms are fully cooked and slightly caramelized. Season with salt and pepper then deglaze the pan with sherry vinegar. Allow all of the vinegar to cook out, then remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.

Begin the cheese sauce. Add 4 tbsp butter to a medium-sized sauce pan and place the pan on the stove over medium heat. Once all the butter is melted and hot, whisk in 4 tbsp flour. Cook the flour, whisking, for about 30 seconds and then add the thyme, rosemary, sage, and red pepper flakes. Continue stirring and allow the herbs to saute for one minute. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking continuously, so the milk incorporates smoothly and there are no lumps. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer (it won't gain it's full thickness until it does), stirring occassionally.

While waiting for the sauce to come to a simmer start the pasta. Liberally salt the pot of boiling water, about 1/4 cup. Add the pasta to the water and cook the pasta for two minutes less than the suggested time on the box.

Once the sauce has reached a simmer, stir in the chevre, cheddar, 2oz of parmigiano reggiano, and truffle oil until all the cheese has melted. Turn off the heat and and taste the sauce for seasoning levels. Season with salt and pepper as necessary. In small mixing bowl, mix together the panko and remaining 2oz of parmigiano.

Strain the pasta and in a mixing bowl, toss the pasta, cheese sauce, and mushrooms together. Pour the macaroni and cheese into a deep glass or ceramic loaf pan and sprinkle the panko/parmigiano mixture evenly across the top. Bake the mac-n-cheese in the upper part of the oven for about 20 minutes or until the topping is golden and the cheese sauce is bubbly. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

What happens without your consent?

Two things...

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't."
And this was replaying in my head all weekend for some reason:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. "
-both quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fashion Friday

If today was payday there are a few things I would splurge on. Well, I would splurge on the entire Alexa Chung for Madewell collection, but it's already sold out :( lame.

So here they are:

Wool origami sheath dress

Washed silk shirtdress

Cotton Blakely dress
Great work dresses that I wouldn't mind catching a happy hour in after a long, busy workday.

It's the weekend!! well, almost, but that's good enough for me!
Tacos and Margaritas, here I come!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

tales from last night

This is a true story.
Last night, on my way home from a meeting, I decided to stop at the grocery store to grab some Carr's Whole Wheat crackers. So, I grab my crackers and wait in the back of a long and slow express lane. Someone gets in line behind me, and then...

"I love that dress, where'd you get?"

I turn around to find a possibly homeless guy(?), and respond, "I think GAP."

"Oh, I love it. You're cute. How old are you?" In a "I'm a pimp" sort of way.

My phone is out and my back is turned to him, "Um, 24."

He, not being very good a context clues, continues, "When I was 24 I was in jail, and 21, 22, 23, and I got out when I was 25, but then I was in jail at 26 and 27 and then I got out again at 28." And then he smiles thinking about all he's accomplished.

By now my over-reactive mind is in full-swing and all types of conspiracy theories are going on in my head, about how this person is about to follow me to my car and everything bad. Jeff was on speed-dial and I was walking straight through the center of the parking lot in the most lit path.

Safe. As soon as I drove out of the parking lot (with my doors-locked)
I laughed.

But then I saw a lady with a FORENSICS jacket on walking down the street.

And I vowed never to drive in that neighborhood again, or at least alone.
even for Carr's crackers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

on a wednesday afternoon

A few randoms: I really want some mac&cheese and I love you Wednesday because you make it almost Thursday.

I need to re-create this outfit. As fall approaches in Texas it becomes nearly impossible to dress in fall fashion with the temperature still hovering around the 90s. So, layers are necessary, allowing the perfect work outfit that is both season and temperature appropriate. After work I often throw off the cardigan and open the sunroof, it's like a modern-day freedom experience. I hit the open road, or the open parking lot until I hit the inevitable rush-hour traffic, bummer.

But all this aside, dresses always work, and cardigans always work, which means I need this outfit.

I think I'll make some homemade mac&cheese tomorrow,
as long as I go to yoga first.

Monday, September 13, 2010

letting go is the hardest part

"The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness."
Do you think this is true? I am not sure. It makes sense at first, and there's no sense chasing happiness, for it usually likes to rest gently on your shoulder as you appreciate life.
But, I like to think about how to live a happy life and be mindful of what creates happiness within. I think some attitudes are happier than others and recognizing a happy characteristic is important to enjoying life. But maybe it's not necessary to be aware but simply appreciate.

Maybe I will try this approach and see what happens, but then am I thinking? and, in result, pursuing?

Letting go...

I think there's something to that.

Once you let go, there's nothing holding you back.

...and I think it all boils down to this.

Friday, September 10, 2010

thank goodness happy about this!
It's the perfect time to go out with friends
Grab some brunch
Sleep in late
Finish a book
Catch up on the DVR
Catch some final sun rays (thank you TX weather)
Listen to music
Watch some Dexter
Cook Dessert
and eat all of it!

girl talk

There was a wine tasting in my neighborhood last night. So, a friend and I went for a few sips and then, obviously not satisfied, walked over to a nearby wine bar to relax, catch up, and enjoy a few more sips.

The night was fantastic, lots of stories and hilarious people-watching moments, but the real revelation came when we recognized/realized the root of all unhappiness, because we are incredible efficient philosophers. Obviously these may be simple, over-generalized observations, but, the idea makes sense and is at least something of which to be aware.

What disrupts a person's happiness?
1. Expectations
2. Regret
3. Assumptions
(I'm not entirely sold on #3, but it's worth a mention)
It's easy to miss the here and now while worrying about the could've, would've, should've and it disrupts the present happiness. I'm a pretty happy and positive person, but I find it fascinating and helpful to think about the why and why not. Maybe I'm the only one, but it's interesting to ponder. Also, if it isn't pondered while one is happy, will one be able to ponder accurately when unhappy? Not likely.
I could go on, but I won't, you're welcome.

In other news, it's finally time...
Fashion's Night Out
While, I'm not attending the New York fashion night out, Dallas is having events to somewhat makeup for that fact. I've been eagerly awaiting Fashion's Night Out since I put it in my calendar and tonight's the night! I can't wait to see what all the fuss is about. Appetizers, drinks, makeup and fashion, what more could I ask for?