28 February 2011

New Fave Band

Frightened Rabbit. A group of Scottish Indie rocker lads who know their way around a good song. I first heard of them about a month ago when someone I follow on Twitter was tweeting links to videos. I was hooked. I bought their CD The Midnight Organ Fight (yeah, I actually still buy CDs! I have a thing for packaging and paying a band for their effort!) at Vertigo a week ago and have been playing it non-stop every since. Herm's comment when I was paying for the disc went something like this, "you kids and your Frightened Rabbit..." I said, "yeah, I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I still like to have fun!" I need to pick up their other discs soon!

Who are you listening to right now?

More Oscar Dresses!

After announcing my favorite dress last night belonged to Mandy Moore, I promised that I'd come back with a few more of my favorite red carpet looks from the Academy Awards. Without further adieu, here you go:
Hailee Steinfeld in Marchesa (Getty)
This is such a fun, very age appropriate look for young Miss Steilfeld! I love this length dress and love the fact that she had a hand in designing it along with Marchesa. I bet it looked even better in person. I would love to see the detailing on the skirt. I'm wondering if it's beading?

Reese Witherspoon in Giorgio Armani Prive (Instyle.com, no photo credit)
I saw tons of mentions of Reese's alter ego Elle Woods in the red carpet rundowns today. I'd say she's more of a Barbie Girl in a Barbie World! Vintage Barbie came alive through Reese last night and she looked beautifully put together. The dress itself wasn't overly fussy, some might say boring, but with the hair and make up she achieves a fun, modern vintage look.

Helen Mirren in Vivienne Westwood (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Strike a pose, Helen! Thumbs up on this color! The shoulders are a touch over done for my taste, I'd like to see something more simple, but Ms. Mirren is working it! The only bitty detail I'd change is to remove the necklace that hangs down over the dress. I would have put her in a diamond choker necklace.

Michelle Williams in Chanel (Getty)
Really, Michelle Williams can do no fashion wrong in my eyes. The girl knows what works on her. She tends to go simple, yet elegant and she always looks beautiful and effortless. From her hair (total hair crush on her!) to her makeup, she's flawless.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Calvin Klein (Getty)
Gwyn sort of looks like she could be Oscar's girlfriend - metallic and statuesque. I dig this look, it's simple, yet stunning. I totally want her glow and her hair. She and Calvin Klein have a winning relationship when it comes to Oscar dresses, he dressed her for her Shakespeare In Love win. Remember that simple pink number she wore?

Hillary Swank in Gucci Premiere (Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Hey, Hillary! I know we've never met and that dress is probably on loan from Gucci, so it's probably not yours to let me borrow, but I must borrow it! I've got nowhere particular to go in such a gown, but it's so old Hollywood and glamourous, I'd surely find somewhere to wear it!

Sandra Bullock in Vera Wang (Getty)
Being of very pale skin like Sandy, I would love to think that I could look this gorgeous in red. I thought she looked lovely and after the year she's had, I'm happy for her!

27 February 2011

Favorite Oscar Dress

Mandy Moore in Monique Lhuillier
photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage

It's far too late to start an entire red carpet rundown for the 2011 Academy Awards, so for now I'll just leave you with my favorite look of the night. The dress was gorgeous on the broadcast, dare I say my favorite. I do like it a tiny bit less in photos. We shall see if it hangs on to the title of favorite as I sift through the rest of the photos from tonight! I'll be back soon with more favorite looks!

19 February 2011

Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!

Home made chocolate peanut butter cups. It has been done. Thankfully, for this experiment I only made a tiny batch.

16 February 2011

Herve Leger

Herve Leger print ad (want this dress!)

For as long as I can remember I've admired the look of Herve Leger "bandage" dresses. They have an iconic look and not overly done from a design standpoint, meaning you can always tell when someone is wearing one. They are body hugging and sex-y! The skinny girls and curvy girls alike have been known to rock them on the runway and the red carpet.

Kate Winslet in Herve Leger (she looks Ah-mazing!)

Herve Leger Fall 2008 (via RunwayDaily.com)

I love scoping the racks for designer deals at our Nordstrom Rack. While out over the weekend I found an actual Herve Leger on the clearance rack! I knew I wasn't going to buy it, but had to try it on, just to say I've tried one on! HA! I LOVED how it fit, but was not so fond of this sort of cut out/lace up detail on the side. You can barely see it in the pic below (yeah, that's me snapping the dressing room mirror shot! haha!)

So, if you live in town, and you're in the market for your own Herve Leger at a steal of a price, go scoop it up. It's a small and is marked WAY down from what it would originally retail for! I bet it won't last long!

15 February 2011

Veg Pad Thai with a Twist!

Among other topics, my google reader is full of food and fitness blogs. Some cross over covering both topics and some NEVER do (the baking sites!). I don't remember when I added Kristin D.'s Aqufit blog, but it was originally for the fitness info. Lately she's blogged about food that falls into the Paleo diet (basically lean meats/seafood, fruits, veggies and nuts). While I'm not Paleo, I am a longtime vegetarian trying to eat more veggies and fewer processed and starchy foods. When I saw her recipe for Paleo Pad Thai, I had to try it! Here's my vegetarian version:

Pad Thai with a Twist
Makes four generous portions with leftovers as a distinct possibility.

2 spaghetti squash (there's the twist, right off the bat, no noodles!)
1 container extra firm tofu

3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. corn starch

Pad Thai Sauce
3/4 Tbsp. Tamarind Paste (dissolved in 1/4 cup warm/hot tap water)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (more if you want more heat! or 1-3 tsp. chili sauce which I didn't have)
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
(If you're not veg and want that fish sauce taste, you'll want to check out the original recipe!)

Everything else
olive oil for stir frying
4 cloves garlic (pressed)
vegetable stock
1 package bean sprouts
chopped cilantro
ground or chopped peanuts
lime wedges

The first step in your journey to an amazing meal might be securing a stash of Tamarind Paste, if you don't already have it. If you're in Grand Rapids, Michigan, check out Lee's Asian Market on Division, just south of 28th Street. I asked the lovely lady working and she walked me right to it!

Tamarind Paste

Second step, baking the spaghetti squash. This can be done in advance of your actual stir frying. I baked mine in the morning and put it in the fridge until I was ready to put everything together. Spaghetti squash have a very tough skin, so before you cut into it, put the whole thing (one at a time!) in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. This will help soften the skin and make cutting it in half, lengthwise much easier. Once you cut each in half, scoop out all the seeds and guts. Sprinkle a little olive oil on each and season with pepper. Put them in a 350° oven on a baking sheet. Bake for 45-60 until the flesh is soft and can be scooped out. Scoop out each half and put your "spaghetti" aside until you're ready for it.

Hello, my name is Spaghetti Squash.

Baked. The half on the left, you can see I've already started scraping "spaghetti" out.

Drain the water your block of tofu came in. You're going to want to press the liquid out of it before you cut it up and marinade it. To press it: wrap the whole block in a couple sheets of paper towel and then wrap it in a clean kitchen towel. Place it between two plates and place something heavy on it - you can use magazines like I did. You'll want to check it after about a half hour and wrap it in new paper towels and/or a new kitchen towel. Check back after another half hour or so and it should about ready. If not, repeat the process. This is a trial and error system, even if it's not super dry, it's still going to work!

Catching up on some Dwell? Nah, pressing some tofu, yo! (It's hiding between the stainless plates!)

While the tofu is pressing, mix together the soy sauce and corn starch for the marinade. Set it aside.

Tofu marinade in the making.

Mix together the Tamarind Paste/water combo together with the rest of the ingredients for the Pad Thai sauce and set aside. It will be somewhat lumpy from the tamarind chunks, but no worries there.

When your tofu is pressed, cut it into chunks and pour the marinade over it. I put mine in a plastic container that I could shake up as it was marinating. Let it sit until you're ready to stir fry.

Pressed tofu, cubed and ready for the marinade.

Heat your wok (or other large fry pan - the bigger the better) over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and your minced garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds.

Add the marinated tofu. Stir fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute. When the wok starts to get sticky, add 1-2 Tbsp of vegetable stock at a time to keep things stirring smoothly. Continue this process for 5-8 minutes.

Add the baked spaghetti squash. Eyeball how much your wok can hold. I probably had one half of a squash that I didn't use because it was getting too crowded in the wok! Pour the Pad Thai sauce over and stir fry for a few minutes until everything is heated through.

Add the bean sprouts and stir fry for about another minute.

Ready to wow your taste buds! Enjoy!

Gather the hungry masses and start plating it up, either individual plates or if you're serving a crowd, put it on a serving plate. Top with the chopped peanuts and lots of chopped cilantro (or as my family calls it, "green gold"). Serve with lime wedges and enjoy!! I had seconds and can attest, it makes a delicious lunch.

09 February 2011

Braces OFF!

Big moves with the my grill, y'all! I'm extremely late in posting this news, but yes, I did get my braces off a few weeks ago. It was quite the experience and I'm so happy with how my teeth turned out! I started my orthodontia journey a while ago - Thinking 'bout it and then finally making the Big Move going for it!

I got expanders before getting my actual braces. We had to make some room for my teeth to actually move where we wanted them. I had a very narrow bite prior to the expanders. It was crazy how quickly the space was created and my teeth started shifting. (I'll apologize in advance for the weirdo teeth/mouth-only pics, but this is all about the teeth, so there you go!)

A bit after expanders were installed. My teeth were not this uneven when we started!

Next came brackets on my bottom teeth.

Brackets on lower teeth.

Then on the top. Then a whole lot of moving into place!

Full braces.

What surprised me the most is how quickly I got used to having all this metal attached to my teeth, on the roof of my mouth and under my tongue. I remember telling my orthodontist and tech that I'd never get used to it the day I got my expanders. I also remember being near tears a few times the first few days I had my expanders because eating was so awkward. I thought for sure I'd never be able to eat normally until I got everything removed. I got over that really quickly! Oh, there were times during the process that my teeth hurt like a bugger, but it usually only lasted a couple days after an appointment. Once I had my appointment scheduled to get my braces off, I had a few moments where I thought I'd really miss them. I had gotten used to them to the point where they just felt like a part of me.

After 14 months of expanders and braces.

If you've never had braces you'd be shocked at how quickly they come off! They remove the wires, then pop the brackets off each tooth. We then did impressions so they could make my retainers. I've been wearing those on the regular now.

The part that takes the longest is removing all the cement used to hold the brackets to each tooth. They use a tiny tool that sounds like a dental drill to scrape off the left over cement. This process was a little tedious. The tool emits a fine mist that at times left me feeling like I was laying on a lawn chair in the rain. My tech, A, was awesome though and kept drying me off. Once the cement was gone, she polished my teeth and I was on my way to work after a chat with my orthodontist.

All in all, it was an interesting experience, a journey I'm happy to have been able to have. I'm still considering one small additional dental change, but I'm still on the fence.

All smiles. Gonna go brush my chompers and get ready for bed now!

02 February 2011

El Blizzardo

So if you live anywhere near the midwest you were probably doing a little shoveling out today. I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home, so I didn't even look at the driveway until after my work day. When I finally got out there, it was a little out of hand! Two solid hours to shovel out the driveway, oh and help out my neighbor and another dude who both got stuck.

Driveway, before. Started shoveling from inside the garage.

Two hours later...I don't feel so bad about the gym being closed today! Instead of shoveling, I would have rather been skiing in all that fresh powder!

I was almost finished with the driveway when my next door neighbor came up through the alley with his shovel to say hello and to tell me he had just shoveled my front steps, which is quite the chore! How great is that?! And it proves the saying "what goes around comes around!" I had been thinking I'd head inside, eat a little something and warm up for a bit and then head back outside to do the front of the house. My neighbor's helping hand made it so I didn't even have to go back out! Bonus! So grateful for that! I love that something as annoying as too much snow in a 24-hour time frame can yield some really nice interactions with the neighbors, especially since we rarely see each other during winter!

How's El Blizzardo treating you?