Thursday, January 28, 2010


I've recently become intrigued by Alton Brown's inspiring weight-loss and how he accomplished it . . . but that's another blog entry for another day. One of the tips, however, he offers: Eat with chopsticks--you'll eat less. Makes sense (slows you down, smaller bites, etc.).

With that in mind, I smiled when I came across these Twiggy Chopsticks from Anthropologie:

Hand-carved from olive wood, they resemble an olive branch--traditionally used to begin new friendships. Kinda fun!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

beer with your fries?

If your answer is "yes" and you're in South Beach, you'll soon be in luck. In mid-February Burger King will open a Whopper Bar in the trendy Miami neighborhood (Las Vegas, NYC, and LA are next on the list):
To keep up with Miami's night life, Burger King (BKC)'s new Whopper bar will offer American beer and Whopper sandwiches around the clock, staying open 24 hours a day, seven days a week . . . .
"That adds a new element to the Burger King brand," said Tom Forte, an analyst at Telsey Advisory Group. "It also creates a different mystique for going to a Whopper Bar versus a traditional restaurant."
Mystique? I'm not sure which is worse: Eating a Whopper or having to choose between Budweiser, Miller Lite and Bud Light Lime.

Though I can honestly say I won't be rubbing elbows with The King anytime soon, I do applaud BK for their forward-thinking ways.

(as was released a few months back, Starbucks is doing the same up in Seattle, piloting a wine/beer/coffee bar)

Monday, January 25, 2010

giada + target = ♥?

I love Giada de Laurentiis. I love Target. The recent marriage of the two (January 2010) should therefore make me giddy. But I'm picky, PICKY, P-I-C-K-Y when it comes to my kitchen. So I'd decided to curb my enthusiasm--temporarily, anyway.

Lo and behold, I was at Target today and happened upon Giada's new line. It wasn't bad. Nothing flashy, nothing super contemporary. On the contrary, Giada's tools, not unlike what I love about her, were very no nonsense. And as one would expect from Target, they're extremely affordable as well.

I snapped a few [lousy] photos:

Those last two. . . the knives and covered casserole . . . $17.99 and $29.99 are SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than Global and Le Creuset. Makes me want to grab 'em for a test-drive. You never know 'til you try, right?

Best of luck to Giada. I hope her latest enterprise is crazy successful!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

wine smarts

Saw this on Vintage Texas and thought it was post-worthy. Many good tips . . . .

Increasing your wine knowledge:
A ten step program

1.Get out of your comfort zone: If your idea of wine comes from the Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast you are missing about 80% of the known wine world that does not get mentioned in these publications. It’s time to get a new perspective.

2.Avoid stereotypical wines: For starters, eliminate Chardonanny and Cabernet from your Lexicon for a while and seek out reds made from Tempranillo, Syrah, Grenache, and Barbera, and whites made from Viognier, Muscat, Riesling and Roussanne.

3.Think countries, rather than companies: There are several wine cultures out there that are strongly connected to the culture and history of the country. Some of them include France, Spain, and Italy with over 1000 years of wine history, and Argentina, American, and even locales like Texas that have 400 years of wine history.

4.Understand that the taste spectrum of wine is quite large: Some are floral, herbal, dry, semi-dry, sweet, some are fruity and some are more austere; and finally, some are simple and straightforward, while others are highly complex. In short, there are wines (actually many wines) out there for everyone.

5.Don’t be afraid of tasting: Many wine bars and even restaurants offer wines by the glass and even flights of wines where they serve you a short pour of three to five wines that can be tasted and compared. Use these settings as an opportunity to try new wines and learn.

6.Understand that there are wines that you won’t like: Due to the number of wines available, there are bound to be some wines that are just “not you”. Some may be poorly made, but with wine quality on a worldwide rise, it is more likely that you will find wines with aromas or flavors that are not to your liking. Regardless, don’t let this discourage you.

7.Seek the knowledge of others: There is so much to learn. Don’t let it intimidate you. However, there are resources that you can use. First, get on the Internet, search using words or combination of words that are unclear to you (this includes pronunciation of foreign words, as well). Also, when you go to a wine bar, restaurant or festival, ask questions from people that can help you.

8.Leave your wine snobbery behind. Good quality wine is now being produced in many new regions (countries, states, appellations and counties). Just because it is not from California or France it does not mean that it is necessarily inferior.

9.Enjoy yourself: This cannot be emphasized enough. Enjoy the moment, the people, the place, then enjoy the wine - they all go together. There is also one cardinal rule of wine enjoyment. Drink what you like and like what you drink.

10. Last, but not least…..Drink Local ( Many small artesinal, micro-wineries are operating in states around the USA. For example, in Texas, we now have over 170 wineries that include one huge (Gallo-type) volume wine producer and six to eight large premium wineries. That leaves about 160 other wineries here in Texas. It is easy to find a winery using winery locator websites in your area such as this Texas site: Don’t overlook these wineries just because they are not well known household names.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

grant desme

What a long, deep breath of fresh air.

By most accounts, Grant Desme--a standout MLB baseball player in the minor leagues--is due to be called up to the majors this spring. He's one of Oakland's top prospects. Last season, in fact, he was the only player in the entire minors with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases.

So is 23-year-old Desme sticking around for the millions of dollars and off-the-charts fame that are sure to come his way? Nope.

He's walking away from baseball and entering a seminary:
"I was doing well at ball. But I really had to get down to the bottom of things. I wasn't at peace with where I was at . . . I love the game, but I aspire to higher things. I know I have no regrets."
Pretty darn stout.

Friday, January 22, 2010

fiscal responsibility

Since they're are on sale anyway, wouldn't it be irresponsible of me to pass-up these amazingly great deals?

Vera Wang - Rhinestone Ribbon Bracelet (Neiman Marcus)

High Contrast Wedge (White House | Black Market)

Cutsie Satchel (Nine West)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

brought to you courtesy of the red, white, & blue

And now, for some good news: Number of U.S. Wineries Continues to Grow, Reaches 6,223. From
California is home to 49 percent of the total wineries in the U.S., a percentage that has remained consistent for the past four years. While wineries have existed in all 50 states for some time, 10 states each now have over 100 wineries. California continues its lead with 3,047 total wineries, followed in descending order by: Washington with a total of 564 wineries, Oregon with 453, New York with 229, Virginia with 163, Texas with 157, Pennsylvania 141, Ohio 120, Michigan 104 and North Carolina 101.
I think this definitely calls for a liquid celebration

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

happy national popcorn day

January 19, 2010 is National Popcorn Day, and I intend to celebrate by enjoying my share of this beloved snack (check out these "Fun Popcorn Facts," if you're so inclined).

Prevention Magazine recently named 7 foods you should never eat; unfortunately, microwave popcorn--a staple in my snacking arsenal--made the list:

The problem: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize—and migrate into your popcorn.


So I'm in the market for a popper. Sure, I know I can use a pot/dutch oven on the stove; but I always struggle with the timing of that whole process (i.e., I burn it). So I'm thinking about looking into this guy from Cuisinart:

Monday, January 18, 2010

18 january, 2010

craft hope for haiti

Continuing to watch/read news from Haiti, and feeling helpless . . . what can be said that hasn't already been articulated by countless others? I agree wholeheartedly with that which President Bush very effectively implored of us: "Just send your cash."

I came across this wonderful effort--Craft Hope for Haiti--that I believe worthy of sharing:
All proceeds of the Craft Hope Etsy shop will benefit Doctors Without Borders in Haiti. All items have been generously donated by the crafting community. If you'd like to donate an item please visit the Craft Hope website (
Other than sending cash, I can't think of a better way to help (at least at this very moment) than by donating to Doctors Without Borders.

Here are a few of my favorite currently for sale in Craft Hope for Haiti's Etsy shop (they appear to be regularly updating the site with new items):

Craft Hope {spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time}

Saturday, January 16, 2010

angelic dessert

1) Tear off some angel food cake (you could be a better person than yours truly and make your own).

2) Top with a sauce made of: vanilla yogurt, Limoncello (Limoncé is a very affordable option and as delicious as any), and honey. No need to measure the ingredients. Just mix 'em to your liking.

3) Add berries.

So easy, even a caveman could do it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

tee gee eye eff

Never have four letters looked and/or sounded so good.

What a week. Holy geez. The semester doesn't officially begin until next Tuesday, and I'm spent. If it weren't for my girls . . . .

This post is brought to you by the bliss I'm currently experiencing, courtesy of Becker Vineyards and My Sparrow (I wanted to show off my sexy new glasses).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

i admit it : : my guilty tv pleasure

Apart from sports, news, and the Food Network, I can count on one hand the number of programs regularly-scheduled on my DVR's "to do" list. Furthermore, I typically loathe reality television of most kinds.

But my normal habits fly out the window when it comes to American Idol. I know, it's terrible; but I can't help myself. There's something intoxicating about following the contestants from Day 1 to Hollywood to the season finale. It lures me in like no other show. I'm addicted. The first couple of weeks of initial auditions (this year's cities = Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, and Orlando)--without a doubt, some of the best entertainment around. Freaking hysterical.

So without further ado, Season 9 kicks-off tonight. I, for one, cannot wait.

(and I'm more than a little intrigued about Simon Cowell's X Factor, coming to Fox next year . . . .)

Monday, January 11, 2010


Crocodile Cubes from India Rose ... because a girl can never have too much faux animal skin and flickering illumination.
Crocodile embossed candles from totally sustainable beeswax blend. Each candle is a 3" cube & comes in sets of 3, in a handmade paper box. This is the perfect gift for yourself. Scented in cempaka, wild fig/pomegranate, bamboo, coffee, grape & guava

Love these.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

no soup for you

I said I was going to "cook" today.

I sorta kinda did, but it ended up being a laughable effort . . . I threw together one of my all-time favorites: Taco Soup.

So quintessentially lame--I'll be the very first to admit it. But it's cold, and I needed some culinary nurturing. And with my new twenty-ten work schedule (8:30-4:30 daily [oy! not something I've done in quite some time!]), I wanted a pot o' leftovers.

Not only is Taco Soup easy, warm, and TDF, it's a low-cal/low-fat no-brainer. Just thow all of the ingredients in a slow-cooker, and forget about it for a couple of hours. Perfection.

I also grabbed a Chardonnay I had not previously sampled. Somehow it called to me, though I'm not exactly sure why (HA!). Over the past six months or so, I've been doing reds almost exclusively; but this particular pale-graped guy was the perfect companion to my poor-[wo]man's soup.

Cheers, to cold winter nights, hot soup, and feel-good wine.