Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Red Shoes

Peacoat and sweater: J. Crew
Pants: Gap
Scarf: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Shoemint
Purse: Fossil

I had the most delightful Sunday morning: got up and enjoyed a tasty breakfast at home with my man, saw a matinee of The Descendants (George Clooney was phenomenal in it; I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up), and had a really great vegetarian lunch in Georgetown at Bangkok Joe's.  If I may say, this is my ideal outfit for a day like that. 

It was a bit chilly out (low 40s), but I was very comfortable with a warm sweater and coat.  Warm enough to wear these amazing new shoes without socks.  Seriously, these are the funnest flats to grace my closet: red dalmatian calf hair smoking shoes.  They even have tassels!  I love them. 
P.S. How do you like my crazy Sunday morning hair?  Messy buns have never looked so....messy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My life (mostly in food) last week

Have you tried this mushroom bourguignon?  Oh, it is so, so good.  We had this for dinner last Tuesday night after craving it for several weeks, and were incredibly happy.  Add a little extra red wine; trust me, you won't regret it.
Mia's favorite way to lay on the couch: against my back, with me on the very edge.
Cappuccinos and croissants at Dean and Deluca during a lazy trip to Georgetown.  We sat on a rock wall on the C&O Canal on the most perfect weekend afternoon and enjoyed a little jolt of butter and caffeine.  Yes, please.
On days when I do a circuit weight workout, I like to have hearty toast with guacamole and sauteed tempeh.  Tempeh is a fermented soy product with tons of protein (more than tofu) and a mouth-feel really similar to meat.  Slice it thinly and saute in a bit of olive oil or Earth Balance for a protein boost in the morning.
This photo is from last Monday; sadly, there is no snow on the ground in DC anymore.  However, last week someone made this really cute little snowman!
More pie from the Pie Sisters; this one is lemon cream.  Please stop by here if you're in Georgetown.  All of the dessert pies I've tried have been uncommonly delicious, and the sisters who run the cute shop are absolutely sweet as, you guessed it, pie.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sister Act

Button down: H&M
Dress: Gap
Earrings: birthday gift (from April Daze/ my mom!)
Shoes: Mia
Belt: J.Crew
I came out of the bedroom this morning and asked John Paul if I looked like a nun-in-training.  He assured me that yes, I did.  I added these shoes, and he changed his mind.
I know, I know, I'm doing a lot of button-down layering lately.  Can I confess something?  My iron broke months ago, and I haven't bothered to replace it.  Call it laziness, call it indifference to wrinkles, but I have no way of getting the creases out of my blouses.  It's winter, though, and I have to layer pieces to stay warm.  Thus, rather than ironing, I layer.  No one can tell if the hem is wrinkled, and I can straighten the collar with my flat iron.  That's called thinking outside the box.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Crunchy snack beans

Since I've cut down on animal products, I'm always looking for ways to sneak extra protein extra protein into my diet.  I've always liked beans (especially my mom's hummus!), but it can get boring eating them in soups and dips.  When these crunchy beans came up on Hello Giggles, I knew it would be a slam dunk. 
Basically, the recipe calls for draining some canned beans (I used cannellini and garbanzo), drying them, adding some spices and roasting them until they're crunchy.  It doesn't get much easier than that.
The taste could easily change based on the spices you use; I went with the garlic, cumin and cayenne called for in the original recipe, but also threw in some sweet paprika aka pimenton for color.  This batch is earthy and pretty mild.  The white beans explode a bit in the oven, and get extra crispy, while the garbanzos hold their shape nicelly.  They're great for munching throughout the day, and would definitely fit in on top of a salad or on a snacks table for football games (Super Bowl anyone?), etc.
Mine were a little stale the day after, so store in a very tightly sealed container, or use immediately.  Let me know if you make these and use your own tasty combination!

Monday, January 23, 2012

2011 in brief

I saw this survey on another blog, and thought I'd fill it out to close up 2011.  It's a little late, but still interesting!  Feel free to respond with your own answers in the comments or your own blog.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
run 10 miles in a row

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I kept a few of them: hike up a mountain with Summer (Sugarloaf), take a dance class, collect white porcelain animals, see Kanye West live. 
Yes, I've got my to-do list for the year. 
3. What countries did you visit?

none, unfortunately.  But that should change this year!

4. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
more patience with myself, more opportunities to travel
5. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
1-1-11, when JP and I got to tell our families that we're getting married!
6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
getting most of the logistics of the wedding sorted out, although I'm really impressed with all the family time I got in considering that my immediate family members each live at least 10 hours from each other.

7. What was your biggest failure?
making time for my friends who don't live in DC.  I'll do better in 2012!

8. What are you really excited about?
wedding, honeymoon, being able to think of something other than those two things!
9. What song will always remind you of 2011?
The entire Watch the Throne album.  One song in particular, whose title is too inappropriate to list but I couldn't stop listening to!  (Katrina, you know what song I mean.)
10. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier? probably equally happy
Thinner or fatter? thinner

11. What do you wish you’d done more of?
visited friends

12. What do you wish you’d done less of?

13. What was your favorite TV program?
Happy Endings.  So funny.

14. What was the best book you read?
The Kind Diet

15. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Ellie Goulding

16. What did you want and get?
I wanted to be a more serious runner, and I've definitely become better at working it into my daily routine.
17. What was your favorite film of this year?
I saw a lot of great films, but Our Idiot Brother is the first one to pop to mind.  I saw it in an awful mood, but walked out feeling great and like good things would happen if I was a kinder person and gave people the benefit of the doubt.

18. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
25- I had to work the first day of Orientation at CUA, and then I had drinks and dessert at Blue Duck Tavern with JP and some friends.
19. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less expectations of myself!  I need to stop comparing myself to everyone.

20. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
A work in progress.
21. What kept you sane?
hot tea breaks

22. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I love Michelle Obama's style.  I even follow a fashion blog dedicated to her.

23. What did you miss the most in 2011?
living close to my wonderful sister, Haley

24. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
accept help from people.  They don't offer if they're not willing.
25. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name" The Avett Brother, Murder in the City

Friday, January 20, 2012

6 years!

This week, JP and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary!  Goodness, that's a long time.  It's not a drop in the bucket of how long we'll be together in the long run, but 6 years should definitely be feted.
We, of course, used food to show each other love.  I set a lovely table with lots of candles, cloth napkins, and even red wine glasses for prosecco.  We do it up right.  John Paul made us some little tiny filets and crab, and I made asparagus and blistered tomatoes.  Tasty!
But not as tasty as these little cuppies from a new pie place in Georgetown.  Pie Sisters opened a couple of weeks ago, and we are totally pie people.  We seriously splurged, with two cuppies and two slices.
These are my coconut cream pie and JP's pumpkin cuppie, and mine was amazing.
There's also cherry cuppies, which are topped with cute little hearts.  Love it!
My chosen slice was chocolate pecan bourbon.  I could have had the whole thing.
 Happy 6th anniversary, John Paul.  I'm so glad we've lasted longer than this pen tattoo I gave myself when we moved in together.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pumpkin-coffee body scrub

Oh man, few things in life are better than emerging from a hot shower with silky-smooth skin.  Ladies (do any men really read this vastly feminine website?) will know what I mean; after shaving my legs, I can't stop rubbing my calves together to make sure I didn't miss a spot and because they just feel so darn wonderful!  I discovered this body scrub last week, and have already made it twice for myself and once for a friend as a little gift!  I'll list the ingredients below, but you'll most likely have them in your fridge or pantry right now, and can throw this together in about two minutes flat.
I'll let the video speak for itself about what exactly each ingredient does, but will give you this tip: coffee can stain, so be sure to rinse the scrub throroughly before getting out of the shower.  This is a great way to get rid of dry, winter skin and prep for the (hopefully) coming spring!

Pumpkin Coffee Body Scrub
1/4 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. ground coffee
1 Tbsp. olive oil (I used this in place of almond oil, which I couldn't get my hands on.  If you have some, definitely use!  I'm sure it smells heavenly.)
Juice of half a lemon

Combine everything in a bowl and scrub away! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Kind Diet

You know me.  I've been honest about books being reviewed on here, whether I didn't like them (Journey to the Center of the Earth) or was meh (The Marriage Plot) or super-enjoyed it (Bossypants). 
I'm not exaggerating when I say that reading The Kind Diet, by, yes, Alicia Silverstone, changed my life and the way I eat.  Silverstone is vegan (I'm not vegan, but eat limited animal protein and dairy), and has written a book about the way she lives.  The first half of the book lays out her "nasty foods" including meat, dairy, white sugar and processed foods.  I've read books about healthy eating and why veggies are better for us and the environment than an animal protein-based diet, but this is the first one that really hit home for me.  Because it's vegan, not vegetarian, I finally realized that dairy/cheese isn't the wunderkind that I thought for so long.  She made two points that stuck with me: no other animals drink other animal's milk ("Pandas don't drink gorilla milk...dogs don't drink goat milk" p. 35), and dairy is designed to make us fat (babies drink it to make them fat and happy, and calves turn into 400-lb cows after drinking their mother's milk).  It clicked for me, and I haven't had a fifth of the dairy I used to since reading this book. 
I don't want to get preachy, but reading this book has helped me lose weight (went down a size and have easily maintained it), feel happier, and totally love all the delicious food I get to make in the second half of the book.  JP and I have been more adventurous about the foods we eat (tempeh, wheat berries, collard greens), and don't have to spend as much money at the grocery store or time in the kitchen cooking roasts, pork, etc.  Our dinner plates look beautiful with colorful veggies and new spices.  
If you'd like to make a change, or even just feel curious about incorporating more vegetables and whole grains into your diet, you've got to pick up a copy of The Kind Diet.  It just might change your life, too.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Amaretto Sour with Prosecco

We had some friends over a couple weekends ago, and, in a spurt of hostess mode, I decided that our gathering would need a signature cocktail.  The only problem is that I don't know much about mixology, and our bar isn't totally stocked with tons of liquors, liqueurs, mixers, and I don't have a muddler.  What I did have was sparkling wine, Amaretto, and limes.  I picked up my copy of Giada deLaurentis' Giada's Kitchen, and spotted this drink.
Let me start with the citrus-sugared rim, which is perfectly tart and sweet.  The drink itself is warm (amaretto), effervescent (prosecco), and smooth (simple syrup).  I happened to have some orange-spiked simple syrup (left over from the Orangettes), which I used for a more Florida feel.  Regular simple syrup will be equally delicious, I'm sure!
If you're looking for a signature cocktail after a long week at work, I definitely suggest you check this out.  You can make the syrup beforehand, and then just add the liqueur and Prosecco before serving- doesn't get much easier than that!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Joy of Books

Hey y'all,
My apologies for the sporadic updates this week.  My beloved Macbook finally ran out of memory, crashed, and needed a new operating system.  Luckily, I'm marrying a very tech-savvy man who fixed it all and I'll be back up and running next week!  In the meantime, have you seen the Joy of Books video on youtube?  It's amazing.  Although my shelves aren't nearly as full, I would like to think that my literature has a little life of its own while I'm away.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Big Curry Noodle Pot

Oh man, this big curry noodle pot is such a satisfying dinner.  Combine some udon noodles, tempeh, thai curry sauce, and coconut milk into a pot, and slurp up.  I used tempeh instead of tofu; tempeh's a pressed soy product that is super-high in protein, but has a great mouthfeel comparable to meat.  Thai curry is perfect for a wintry meal by the fireplace- it's warm, soupy, and slightly spicy.  You can adjust the heat as you'd like by adding more or less coconut milk, using a little less or more curry paste, etc.  Squeeze more lime juice if you want.  This recipe is pretty adaptable.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

No shoes

Sweater: J.Crew
Button-down and pants: Gap
Necklace: Jewelmint
Barrette: F21 (v. old)

This is my "going back to work after a 12-day vacation" look.  It's comfortable, but still conveys a willingness to check e-mails and schedule events/meetings for my department.  The sweater is an old birthday gift, but I get so much wear out of it!  It has a great boatneck, so isn't constricting and pairs nicely with a patterned silk blouse.

 I just tied my hair in a ponytail, then pinned the barrette in underneath the rubber band, giving it volume.  An idea from Sex and the City!

There's something so easy but chic about wearing a necklace beneath your collar and over your sweater.  I love this layered look.

Monday, January 9, 2012

January so far

 Unwinding after a long day with some Irish hot chocolate, crowded on top with tiny marshmallows.

 A tasty new-to-me cocktail!  Amaretto sour with prosecco- recipe to follow soon!

 A hearty and soul-warming breakfast: collard greens with pine nuts, buttered toast and hot lemon water.

 We drove to Great Falls, VA with the Diegos this weekend; what a gorgeous sight.

 Big curry noodle bowl for dinner last week- slurpy and tasty!  I'll post the recipe soon.

Birthday balloons caught in the trees next to our dog park.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Resolutions

Ah, I love the beginning of a new year!  2012 is going to get busier until the wedding in March; I plan on relaxing in front of the tv with Friday Night Lights and Battlestar to chill out when it gets stressful.  In April, I get to relax and do things like 'run a half marathon' and 'visit Austin, TX with Jess!' Some of these resolutions may not seem impressive, but driving in DC terrifies me, and Dupont Circle is the craziest roundabout in the city!  And, clearly, I need to work on my saving, hence the fiscal resolution.  I've been dating JP for nearly 6 years (!!), and have yet to master his native tongue, so having 'a conversation with Patricia in Spanish' will be a long time coming.
There are so many other things to do, but this will be a good start!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The end of 2011

John Paul and Mia enjoyed their first Summers Christmas!  Lots of champagne and gift unwrapping.  How do you like this new slippers?
 A Publix sub!!  Oh my goodness, I wish there were Publixes up here in DC...
The Fame! shot of most of the cousins.
 Merry Christmas from Aunt Nesi and Summer Jean.
Mia likes being in the car.
Second Christmas  at the Shelton house!
Hi Grandma in North Carolina!
Hey Handsome!
Lunch with Latty at Luna!  Mmmmm....garlic knots...
Four-wheeling with Pablo and Patricia in Athens.  Mia runs fast!
Happy 2012!  Hope yours is wonderful!