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