Monday, January 30, 2012

Ideas for 2012

I realize we are nearly a month into 2012, but I've finally pinpointed my feelings for this new year. While there are a few personal and professional goals I have set for myself, this sets up my outlook quiet nicely.

WRITE...without abandon. Anything can be edited.
BUY....a smaller purse. And use it.
FORGET...the phrase: I can't.
START...using the phrases: I can and I will.
PLAY...more games with less rules.
ALWAYS...look the part. Whatever part you want.
CELEBRATE...big events and little adventures. Like surviving Monday.
LOVE...with all your heart. And never look back.
GIVE...the best effort.
NEVER...doubt yourself. Confidence will take you everywhere. people. They mean well, try to mean well or don't know any better.
REMEMBER...the prosecco and strawberries.
HOST...the perfect party. Where everyone leaves with a story.
LEARN...a new poem each month. Songs count.
CALL...friends and family more often.
STOP...waiting for it to happen. Go out and make it happen.
FORGIVE...everyone for everything.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Brightening Days

Winter months are darker, colder and a little gloomier, creating a can't-get-out-of-bed feeling 24/7. Since that's not an option, it's time to create a space that cheers me out of bed in the morning. Yellow is the first color that comes to mind, but it's tricky. Yellow easily mimics a school-bus or mustard, which is not the look I'm after.

This is a great start. It's a terrible picture, but a great start. There are hints of yellow with blue and gray tied in to make the look more practical and less overwhelming. I love the lamps and chandelier, but not the "art" framed above the headboard.

So I continued my search on Pinterest, slowly realizing that I'm not a big fan of yellow (outside of the occasional accent piece) and then my sophisticated search for "best bedroom ever" brought me this little piece of heaven, solidifying my gut feeling:

If this is your room, I'm sorry, but you shouldn't consult with Strawberry Shortcake when decorating your bedroom. Sifting through many "best ever" pins is an interesting search with lots of makeup tips and recipes, but little design inspiration. So, I turned to one of my favorites, Z Gallerie and found this gem of an accent (on sale!).

This is sure to brighten any day. Ba da ba da pish. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's a Cheesy Life

Any party I've ever thrown has involved cheese. Whether it is a simple cheese dip or an entire table of cheese, I'm partial. It's easy, elegant and leaves me with some delicious leftovers. In an effort to become the cheese connoisseur of my dreams, here are a few new cheeses to broaden the scope from brie, goat and blue. The first two, I've had and love, but the last three are new to my palate.

Here are 5 cheeses to try (or re-try):

A common selection at dinner parties, this variety is an easy crowd-pleaser. It's simple, delicious and soft for easy spreading onto your favorite cracker. Our key ingredient, Milk, is a big player in this cheese and quality breeds large taste dividends, so invest a little extra.

The elegant French blue stands above other classic blue cheeses with tradition. This is the oldest, recorded, blue cheese in European history. It comes from Sheep's milk and brings sweet, gamey notes to the pungent blue cheese. This moldy cheese is one of the most flavorful and rewarding.

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar
This is not your momma's cheddar. Cabot Clothbound Cheddar is a firm, grassy, cow's milk cheese that brings you a lovely balance of sharpness and sweetness. It's carefully wrapped in layers of cloth and aged in a cave, developing a rich, buttery English-style flavor with notes of caramel.

Constant Bliss (by Jasper Hill Farm)
While the name is busy pinpointing my feelings towards cheese consumption, the flavor and texture deliver perfection. It's semi-soft with a nutty, mushroomy taste that exhibit bits of salt throughout. It's an American Artisan cheese that's evolved from an Old World recipe and it's bliss.

Pleasant Ridge Reserve
A popular variation of gruyere cheese, this variation brings the full flavor of creamy butter. This is also a common American product.

My secret to finding the best cheese is to find the best cheese shop, wander the aisles and gently poke the plastic coverings shielding the cheese. The softest, gooiest cheese under $6 wins. If you're in Austin or Dallas, Central Market is my favorite.

*Bonus points for a good wine-pairing.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Covering Up Grant in 2012

(Me with My Star in Hollywood)

Happy 2012! The beginning of a new year is always exhilarating. I always have high hopes and grand dreams, with a couple resolutions sprinkled in between. 2011 was a bit of a whirlwind. I learned to let go of expectations, allowing for surprises in their own time. Letting go of control is not something that comes easily to me. I plan things. I know what order to apply my cleanser, toner, mask, serum, moisturizer and sometimes spot treatment. 

But life threw me curve balls in 2011. Two things that I thought I wanted the most rejected me in the most humbling way. Everyone on the Bachelor/Bachelorette chose the wrong fiance and I started watching those annoying (but addicting) shows.  After initially drawing the conclusion that it's best to want nothing and becoming a Buddhist, I decided that this approach felt like defeat, given my American heritage. So, I modified the outlook. Dream big, but let those dreams evolve. Dreams are distant desires and sometimes, when they get close, it's not actually the anticipated outcome. For example, I wanted glasses when I was younger. Now, I can't see a thing without glasses or contacts. Be careful what you wish for.

In 2011, I landed my dream job, but it did not complete me in the way I expected. It didn't give me purpose or that perfect balance for happiness that I anticipated. Instead, I found myself more anxious and unhappy than when I found out the whole Kardashian Fairytale Wedding was a shame. But this disappointment proved to be the greatest blessing in disguise. I do not need anything to be my best possible self. Dream jobs, a perfect marriage and a pair of Manolos do not allow me the platform to be happy, perfect and/or fulfilled. I am the platform and appreciating this was the most important lesson of 2011.

I think the beauty of 2011 is that I realized the lovely little life I have, with or without my own reality TV show.  I realized that sometimes this is as good as it's going to get on a Tuesday night-cuddled up next to my dog, reflecting to the blog world-and then loving every second of it. 

The wonder is in the perception, not the expectations. I'm not coming to you from the Bravo clubhouse where I hang out with Andy (5 nights a week!!), but I am blogging from a serene place of well-being and thankfulness for all that I do have. And I perceive that to be wonderful.