Friday, July 31, 2009

a fine glass of hello kitty

I've actually heard of a Hello Kitty cocktail ... but Hello Kitty wine? Maybe I'm out of the loop, but Hello Kitty is helping market Italian wine--four different Italian wines, actually:
The range – all made from 100% Pinot Noir from the Oltrepo Pavese area – includes a red wine called Devil, a white named Angel, and two spumantes: a Brut Rosé and a demi-sec dubbed Sweet Pink.
I'll try anything once, but this one's kinda strange, don't you think? Then again, I was never a Hello Kitty fan; on the contrary, I find her popularity to be kooky. Here are the labels:

Something tells me this may be one that the girls will have to sample alone. With a few exceptions (whose names I'll withhold), I can't imagine many guys wanting to uncork a bottle of Hello Kitty Brut Rosé. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

shut up. this is not real.

Oh, but it is. Snuggie Dog.

Those regular, human Snuggie blanket commercials--the ones with the people wearing shit-eating grins as they knit, take in a sporting event, or work on their laptops ... all while wrapped in the monk-like comfort of a Snuggie--were sad enough. Now we get to listen to the plaintive whines of Peanut as his owner attempts to shimmy a normal dog sweater over his head (as opposed to blanketing him in a Snuggie Dog coat).

My favorite quote from their website: "Your dog will love wearing its very own Snuggie™ ...." So silly.

football flip flops

Aren't these cute? OKA b. Chloe flip flops! OKA b. is pushing them in their fall collection, aiming the impressive range of collegiate colors at those crazy college kids. Anyway, being that temps for Texas Aggie football games hover in the mid to high 90s until at least the end of October, these puppies are right up my alley.

I grabbed a pair in Cranberry. They make them in Grape too, K :). Mine arrived yesterday, and I couldn't wait to tear into the box! Here they are:

I'm such a ginormous OKA b. fan. Their slogan--Shoes That Love You--couldn't be more appropriate. And I love them right back.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

penny lane designs

The professional and artistic genius behind my new look is courtesy of Penny Lane Designs. The entire overhaul process was quick, painless, and super fun! I provided PLD with my somewhat disjointed and confusing vision ("rustic rogue meets whimsical elegance"), and Marina turned it into a beautiful reality. I am blown away by her gift.

If you're ever in need of a true pro to assist you (who isn't?!?) with such services as blog layout, logos, business cards, wine labels, stationery, wedding programs/save the dates, shower invites, announcments (and many other similar products) you'd be foolish to consider anyone other than Penny Lane Designs. I won't.

Now if only PLD could do something about my master bedroom and its dire need for a decorating diva.

crème anglaise

This past weekend I saw two different culinary phenoms, Ina Garten and Chef Hubert Keller (on two different cooking programs), demonstrate the most ridiculously easy recipe for Crème Anglaise: They used melted vanilla ice cream! Genius, huh? No custard making, no water bath ... just melted vanilla Häagen-Dazs.

Keller added some rum as well; but Ina simply poured the cream onto a plate as the base for store-bought chocolate pound cake. Then she topped the yumminess with stewed fresh berries. You could easily turn up the volume by adding fresh vanilla bean.

It actually makes total sense. Crème Anglaise consists of sugar, egg yolks and milk, and is typically flavored with vanilla. So all you're essentially doing is working backwards from ice cream. What an outstanding idea!

From this day forward I'll attempt to impress my guests by serving a fancy Crème Anglaise sauce with dessert. Pretend like you don't know my secret.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

his & her vanities

Jaxson and I are in desperate need of our own space in the master suite. Just this morning as I was getting ready, I had to nudge him out of the way not once, but twice. It was a passive-aggressive moment (caught on film), and I feel as if our relationship is suffering as a result:

So I'm thinking that my next estate must have his and her vanities. Kohler has a nice little set-up on their website (notice the small flat screen and coffee maker betwixt the two sinks):

It's entirely too masculine for my taste, but the inspiration (and privacy) is all there. Until we're ready to move . . . I guess I'll continue to wait patiently in line . . . to use my own sink.

yankee candle : : new fall fragrances

I am forever bringing home different candles; but the more brands and varieties I try, the more I become convinced that nothing beats Yankee Candle--in terms of scent, burn evenness, selection, and longevity. They're truly in a league of their own. Each year Yankee's Buy One, Get One Free large jar sale provides me with a boxful of happy--more so than just about any other candle-induced joy.

Until now!

I could hardly contain my glee when I saw that Yankee Candle is debuting eight new fall fragrances. Since I live for autumn, this sits well with me.

Here are a few that I'm dying to test out on my sniffer:

Monday, July 27, 2009

battle of the alamo. again.

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, caretakers of our beloved shrine to Texas liberty, are once again going after each other like Texians and Mexicans.

One faction of the DRT--the rebels, if you will--wants the Alamo run like a modern museum, complete with national accreditation. The other side--the old schoolers--insists the Daughters are doing just fine operating the Alamo as is.

Give it a rest, ladies; or at the very least, figure out a more private way of settling your snarky differences. The memories of men like Bowie, Travis, Crockett, and the other defenders deserve much better than your unattractive and unrefined infighting.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

tall remekins

Saw some of these today on Martha Stewart's PBS show, Everyday Food. She (well not her; one of her food editors, Emma Feigenbaum) used them to serve macaroni and cheese (bottom right side of photo below).

I think they're precious. So often I find myself needing a diminutive ramekin, but the standard-sized version is too small. Enter Crate and Barrel's tall (10 oz.) option. Perfect for all kinds of snacks, ice cream, food prep, etc. And at only $2.75, the price is a steal.

Crate and Barrel is so underrated. Then again, so is macaroni and cheese.

Friday, July 24, 2009

july 24 : : national tequila day

It's today. I swear. Look it up.

As we take a moment to recognize this auspicious day, there's clearly only one gift worth giving . . . and receiving. I know I'll be enjoying a margarita or two with friends this evening (I'm a purist--freshly squeezed lime girl at heart -- but using Lasco Restaurant Syle Mix yields an equally fine cocktail).

I'm also going to mix up Hungry Girl's Te Quiero Tequila Shrimp and Strawberry Margarita Mousse. Both look extremely simple, yet different . . . and worthy of National Tequila Day.

So grab your favorite tequila, orange liqueur, some limes, and raise a salt-rimmed glass in honor of National Tequila Day!

red hot [chili] steppers

I think my "thing" for red is worse than I realized.

A recent Etsy red door search gave way to a similar hunt for red shoes art. Again, I wasn't disappointed.

So darn cute:

(OK, so not exactly red shoes; but I loved this one anyway)

Now, if only I could score some of these actual Louboutins ....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

so damn cheesy

Um, anyone have plans August 7-8? The American Cheese Society (how am I not a lifetime member?) is holding its annual conference; and this year they're meeting right down the road in Austin. Unfortunately, you have to be a member (snobs) in order to attend their shindig. I'm seriously thinking about joining at the "Non-professional/Student/Enthusiast" level ($90), just to attend the Festival of Cheese (!!!) on that Saturday. Allow that to sink in for a minute: Festival of Cheese. I'm drooling and becoming more than a little weak, just thinking about it.
Experience the culmination of a week of celebrating the best of American cheese! The premiere cheese event in the United States showcases all of the cheeses entered in the Annual Judging & Competition. Described as, "the most outrageous display of cheeses ever experienced," you have to see it to believe it. Whole Foods Market invites you to join in this amazing celebration.
Here's the entire conference agenda; and it appears the Cheese Sale on Sunday is open to the public:
This sale gives attendees and locals a chance to buy fantastic cheese at head-turning prices.
I'll leave you with a little eye candy from Cheese + Champagne:

book slut

That is what I am.

It's so not like me to be currently and simultaneously juggling three different books (Dr. Thompson's Behavioral Statistics doesn't count); but that's my literary trampish way right now. I'm sharing all three titles, as each one is recommendation-worthy.

The Fixer Upper (Mary Kay Andrews)

The Doomsday Key (James Rollins)

And here are a few new releases with which I am dying to curl up soon:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

mexican grilled corn & steak

Made this Mexican Grilled Corn (from Eating Well Magazine) tonight. Tasty.

Street vendors across Mexico sell this style of roasted or grilled corn—topped with mayonnaise, chili powder and Cotija cheese. You can serve the unadorned corn on a platter with small bowls of the sauce, cheese and lime on the side so everyone can make their own.

2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise [I left out the mayo]
2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
4 ears corn, husked
4 tablespoons finely shredded Cotija or Parmesan cheese
1 lime, quartered

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. Combine mayonnaise, yogurt and chili powder in a small bowl.
3. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until marked and tender, 8 to 12 minutes total. Spread each ear with 1 tablespoon of the sauce and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Cotija (or Parmesan). Serve with lime wedges.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 98 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 0 g mono); 2 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 4 g fiber; 108 mg sodium; 19 mg potassium.
1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat

precious and pink

"i'd stop drinking, but i'm no quitter"

One of my girls bought me a package of these (left) cocktail napkins this weekend. Obviously she's onto me and mia vita perfetta (I'm practicing for that Italy trip). Totally humorous, right?

I'm in physical need of a few more good laughs. I found several additional quips that made me chuckle:

I think it's time to have a cocktail party. Seriously.
Happy Wednesday!