Thursday, February 28, 2013

Gowns

I don't typically spend my days dreaming of wearing fancy ball gowns but with awards season in full effect right now, I guess my dreams are getting a little fancier. I thought I'd share some of my favorite gowns that I've pinned over the last year or so.

From left to right: Reem Acra Spring 2013 (photo via), Unknown (photo via), Jenny Packham (photo via), Christian Siriano Spring 2012 (photo via)

To follow me on pinterest, click here.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Green Smoothie


Three years ago, my husband and I received a blender for our wedding. It has served as my favorite kitchen appliance ever since. Smoothies are such an incredible way to get your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. While it's more difficult to make vegetables taste delicious in smoothie form, I've developed a pretty incredible recipe that makes spinach taste amazing. The key to this recipe is the avocado and banana. These two fruits are naturally smooth and they're really what make the texture in this beverage drinkable and enjoyable.

Green Smoothie
Yield: one large smoothie
Time: 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 big handful spinach
1/2 avocado
1/2 banana
3/4 cup frozen peaches
2 spoonfuls greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup orange juice

DIRECTIONS:

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wanderlist

A while back I created this wanderlist and I thought I'd share it with you. Part of me finds it difficult to dream of so many magnificent things mainly because I don't want to be disappointed if I don't achieve these things. But then I remember that I am young and life is long and it's better to shoot for the moon (if you miss, you'll land among the stars). I'm lucky to have already crossed a few of these off my list and it makes me happy to realize all of the beautiful experiences and places this world has to offer. 

Without further ado...

1. Skydive
2. Swim with sharks
3. Learn to speak Arabic and use it!
4. Walk the Great Wall of China
5. Attend Wimbledon
6. Visit Jerusalem
7. Attend a Christkindlmarkt in Europe
8. Hike Everest Base Camp Trek (Bradford)
9. Attend a circus
10. African Safari
11. Learn to sail and sail to beautiful places
12. Dine with a foreign dignitary
13. Eat Baja fish tacos in Baja California
14. Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef
15. Live steps to the beach
16. Cinque Terra
17. Visit the Great Pyramids (and Karnak Temple)
18. Attend a rodeo
19. Attend a bullfight in Spain
20. Create a gorgeous library in my home
21. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
22. View the cherry blossom festival in Japan
23. Play beach volleyball in Rio de Janeiro
24. Travel to Antarctica and see thousands of penguins
25. Marvel at the Grand Canyon
26. Run a marathon? (Maybe a half?)--this one scares me the most
27. Explore Macchu Picchu
28. Earn my AAA rating in beach volleyball
29. Attend an English Premier League soccer match
30. See lava
31. Go to Thailand and gawk at Bradford speaking Thai to everyone
32. Participate in a Muslim prayer service in a mosque
33. Kiss my husband all over Paris
34. Experience "southern hospitality"
35. Attend an opera
37. Alaska
38. India

I fully expect this list to grow and grow and grow. As the old adage says: 

"The more you know, the more there is to know."

Photo Sources:

Everest, Jerusalem, Pyramids, Arabic Script, Leila Sharaf, Bullfight, Shark Cage, and Lava from me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In no particular order and with no real rhyme or reason, here are some things I'm currently lusting after.

1. Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette - $27.00
3. Replay Vintage Sunglasses Navigator Sunglasses with Multi Color Lens - $14.95
6. Current/Elliott The Combat Skinny low-rise skinny jeans - $79.20

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Homemade Carrot Cake


I have vivid memories from my childhood of eating my Mom's homemade carrot cake. She didn't make it all that often but I remember my thoughts whenever I ate it: "This is the best cake ever!". Of course, I had no idea as a child that this had carrots in it and was so surprised the first time I ever found out. I'm not sure who first discovered carrot cake, but it really is a magical, secret and brilliant thing. Oh, and it's the one cake I know of that gets moister (not drier) with time.

Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: one large cake
Total Time: about 1 1/2 hours

INGREDIENTS:

4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
{for the frosting}

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9x13-inch pan. 

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. If using, fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan. 

Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan. 

{To make the frosting}

In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cake and, if desired, top with chopped pecans. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Wanderlust: Munich, Germany






Today is my Dad's 60th birthday. As a tribute to him, I'm sharing pictures of the city he was born in: Munich, Germany. My father is a big reason why I love travel so much. He grew up living in various exotic locales such as Beirut, Lebanon and Baghdad, Iraq and has always had such a passion for new experiences, be it meeting new people, trying new foods or traveling to new places. And he definitely passed that trait on to me. He was the one who encouraged me to travel in college: to Spain, New York, and then Jerusalem. I'm so grateful for those experiences. And for so many other things that I'll share with him separately. Happy Birthday, Dad!

Click on each photo to view the source.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pink



Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell, Skirt: BP, Sweater: Banana Republic, Necklace: Stella & Dot, Sunglasses: BP

It's been one of those work weeks where I've slept very little, worked very hard, typed a lot of emails, attended a lot of meetings, done a lot of problem solving, pushed myself to the limit and felt a lot of fun and satisfaction doing it. It's great to feel yourself grow whether in life, love or career.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chicken and Cornmeal Dumplings




There's something about these colder months that just scream slow cooker. When we're too busy to spend time in the kitchen and too cold to eat anything else, a warm, slow-cooked meal just makes you feel good. I discovered this recipe for chicken and dumplings a couple months ago and am a huge fan. The dumplings add a great texture to the tender meat and vegetables.

Chicken and Cornmeal Dumplings
Adapted from Diabetic Living
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 8 hours

INGREDIENTS:

2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 chicken thighs or chicken breasts, skinned
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 recipe cornmeal dumplings (see below)

DIRECTIONS:

In a slow cooker, combine carrots, celery, corn kernels, onion, garlic, rosemary and black pepper. Top with chicken and pour broth over mixture. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

If using low heat setting, after 8 hours, change to high heat setting. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let sit until cool enough to handle. Remove bones if necessary and chop chicken. Return to slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine milk and flour until smooth. Stir into mixture in the slow cooker.

Using two spoons, drop Cornmeal Dumplings dough into flour mounds on top of hot chicken mixture. Cover and cook about 30-45 minutes more, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean. (Do not lift cover while cooking.) Sprinkle with coarse ground pepper and serve.


{Cornmeal Dumplings}

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons canola oil


DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, combine egg, milk, and canola oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir just until moistened.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Wanderlust: New Orleans, Louisiana






I've always had a random fascination with the state of Louisiana. I say random because I have no family that lives there and no connections to any place near that part of the United States.  I've always just been drawn to this place in a sort of magical way. When I was in 3rd grade and we had to select a state to write a state report on, I chose Louisiana. When I came home and told my parents, they had the most puzzled look on their face and said, "Louisiana!?" Haha. With the Super Bowl recently happening in New Orleans, I thought I'd highlight this fascinating, historical, musical, artsy city.

Have you ever been to New Orleans? If so, what was your favorite part about the city?

Click each photo to view the source.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My Mustard


I've talked a lot about the importance of strong wardrobe essentials in building your personal style. A solid base of clothing that fits you well is crucial in feeling and looking great everyday.

But hot dogs are so much better with mustard, right?

P.S. These shoes are on sale right now for $9.99.