Thursday, March 31, 2011

Awkward & Awesome Thursday

As always, inspired by Sydney over at The Daybook
Awkward:
  • I saw this little beauty at Sears last weekend and was completely mesmerized by the idea.  I am filing this under awkward for now (but I reserve the right to try it out, and possibly move it to the awesome category at a later date).  Yes, it is a pooch poop vacuum.  Anyone out there have one?  I would love to know if this works.

  • The price of gas.  Yeah, I know I have mentioned this a time or two before:)

  • Blog writers block.  Sometimes I am just not sure what I want to write about.  I guess that is part of the charm of a new blog.
  • Being stuck in traffic behind the "I leave 10 car lengths in front of me" person.  And everyone is cutting in front of this person.  And of course, said person is in the fast lane. 
  • Phillip on Survivor.  If you watch the show, I don't even need to explain.
     
Awesome:
  • Finally, some sunny and warm weather.  Is spring here to stay?  Things in my yard are happily blooming (pictured: freesia, lithadora, forsythia).
  • I found an entire cookbook dedicated to quinoa (which is a super-food and totally delicious).  I can't wait to try quinoa in baked goods.  Hmmmm....maybe that just sounds like a good idea. 

  • I won another Lucky Rewards.  Details to come.
  • Spending $14.50 at Forever 21 and getting some very cool accessories.  Details also to come.
  • Good news from family members who really need it.  And lots of love and thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wednesday Wishes

I have been reading Brooke's lovely blog, Bright Wishes,  for a while now, and decided to participate in Wednesday Wishes this week. 

Currently, I am wishing for:

ONE: A bright, sunshine-filled, warm weekend.  The view out my window at work has looked like this for the past month.  The weather seems to finally be clearing up a bit, and my yard is a complete disaster.  Our grass is so out of control, our home is starting to look abandoned. 



TWO: A butterfly beacon that attracts and feeds butterflies.  I love the idea of having lots and lots of butterflies swirling around my garden.  So whimsical.

Gardener's Supply Company
 
THREE: These quirky pug prints from Etsy.  Although I am not quite sure what I would do with them yet, I am sure that I need them. 



FOUR: A Pacman necklace.  I love the quirkiness, plus, this reminds me of my childhood. 

Monserat De Lucca



FIVE:  A photography class.  I would really love to squeeze one into my schedule this year.  My fear of the Nikon is getting silly.



SIX:  A long walk for two increasingly lazy dogs, who like to sleep in my lap while I blog.






The Hunger Games

Imagine a world where civilization as we know it is gone.  Where, after some unknown event, The US is now known as Panem, and has been divided into twelve districts that must produce goods for a wealthy Capitol. This Capitol controls its people with an iron fist, and makes the children of its districts compete in a game of survival, where the winner is the one person who is left alive at the end.  Any of this piquing your interest?

via Amazon.com
Admittedly, I hadn't ever heard of this book until I had three different friends recommend it to me in one day.  I got sucked in very quickly. As I was reading, I kept imagining how well this kind of action packed adventure would translate into a movie, and low and behold, they are in the middle of casting for one now. 

The characters are well developed, and Katniss Everdeen is the kind of heroine that you want to see kicking butt and taking names.  Frankly, she rocks.I will give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars (still haven't thought of a better ratings system).  Next up is the second book in this trilogy, Catching Fire.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Citrus Cream Smoothie

One of my fondest memories as a child involves going to the mall with my mother and stopping by the Orange Julius stand.  We would always each get an Orange (or some other fruit flavored) Julius and walk around the mall, shopping and chatting.  To this day, I still will stop for the occasional drink, savoring the memories of my childhood tradition with my mother. 


(Once again) Giada De Laurentiis comes through with her Citrus Cream Smoothie, which isn't supposed to be like any kind of Julius, but comes awfully close.  I followed this recipe and had my own version in about 30 minutes.  I do love to squeeze my own orange juice (and once you start, fresh squeezed tastes so amazing, it is hard to go back to the stuff in a carton), so add about 5 minutes to the total cooking time for that.  And since this recipe required orange zest, I had a good excuse to buy a whole bag of oranges.  You can also purchase simple syrup at any beverage store (if that is a step you want to skip).  Enjoy!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Awkward & Awesome Thursday

As always, inspired by Sydney over at The Daybook

Awkward:
  • Getting caught singing at the top of my lungs with the radio, while at a red light. 
  • People who write checks at the grocery store, and wait for their total before they even put the date on the check.  C'mon folks, there is a long line here.  You know who you are.
  • The mildew-y junk that builds up over time in my toothbrush holder .  I know that it is caused by standing water, but is there any way to prevent it?  Yuck!
  • My refusal to start taking blog pictures with my Nikon instead of always using my iPhone.  I really need to man up here and learn how to use this thing.  At least aim for a mix of phone and DSLR pictures. 
  • What seems like a month straight of rain, interspersed with one of the things I dislike the most...warm-ish days with a cold wind.  You know, the kind of day that looks sunny and warm from inside your cozy kitchen, until you step outside, and a 20 mph blast of cold air whips past you.  Double yuck!

Awesome:
  • Battle Los Angeles- great movie.  Kind of a nail biter.
  • Movies equal popcorn, and sometimes, leftover popcorn.  Yes, I took a picture of it.  Popcorn is part of my blog's name for a reason:)
  • Spring has officially started.  Although the weather first week of spring has been less than awesome (see awkward list).
  • I participated in my first blog swap.  And it was fun putting a package together.  And  then anticipating receiving something random in return. 
  • And finally, this email exchange, which is just about the funniest thing I have ever heard read.  At least this year.  And maybe last year too.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays

I do not like mornings.  Especially rainy mornings of the Monday variety.  But sometimes it is the small things that make my morning just the tiniest bit better. 


Like stumbling upon three snuggly dogs in a messy, unmade bed (that somehow, I was brave enough to post here).  And texting the picture to my husband, just to remind him how loved we are. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What I Need...Now (March Edition)

I like to keep all of the things I am eyeing bookmarked in one folder.  I will stalk them often, (usually) until they go on sale.  Or I get a good code.  Here are some of the things that would make my life so much better, just by having them:)


I have mentioned my love of goldfinches before, and I do already have a long tube feeder in my backyard.  But there are so many finches in my neck of the woods, that I know I could put this is my front yard too, and both would be full all of the time.

Tory Burch Eddie  $178

I love, love, love these shoes.  I already own them in black, and I have to say, they are the PERFECT ballet flat.  They are super comfortable and their simplicity makes them go with everything.  I adore these shoes, and would have them in every color if I could (but I think this particular color is the next best thing to black, at least for my wardrobe).  One more thing, I did order them a half size up from my normal size, and they were perfect.
Kate Spade New York Gumdrops Stud  $38

I love most things Kate Spade and all things purple.  These earrings are classic, and the color is vibrant.  If purple isn't your thing, they come in a bunch of other colors too. 

PIG SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS  $75

OK, aren't these freaking adorable?  The artist who came up with this is brilliant (in my humble opinion).  How cute would these be at a dinner party?  They charmed the pants off of me.


Dior 'Spring Look' Vernis Nail Enamel   $21

Perfect...shade...of...grey.  There isn't much more to say.  There is also an amazing pink color as part of the "Spring Look" but it seems to be sold out.

Nine West Kailee  $79



I love red shoes.  I love the statement they make.  I love how they make a boring outfit more interesting.  And I need a pair of red sandals. These are on sale right now, and of course, by the time I discovered this, they were out of my size.  But I will keep stalking:)

Citizens of Humanity 'Hutton' Mid Rise Wide Leg Stretch Denim Trousers (Paradise Wash)  $208

I love the light wash and the flared trouser style.  I am hoping I can find these on sale at some point, because it is a bit more than I am willing to pay for a pair of jeans. 

What is on your list right now?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Almond Pancakes

Another inspiration from an episode of Giada at Home.  This recipe uses pancake mix as a base (I used  Reduced-Fat Bisquick).  This was really easy to throw together, with almond pasted being the only ingredient that I didn't already own.  Petunia built a nest on some blankets that were waiting for their turn in the laundry, and looked a little disgusted that I wanted to take her picture (and was making breakfast, instead of loving on her). 


My one caveat here, is that this makes a thick batter, and I needed to add a bit more water than the recipe called for.  It wasn't as easy to get the perfectly round pancake shape that I so wanted to take pictures of for my blog.


In the end, it made about 8 regular sized pancakes that were munched on all day. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Awkward & Awesome Thursday

As always, inspired by Sydney over at The Daybook

Awkward:
  • Being named Erin on St. Patrick's Day.  It always leads to Erin go Bragh, which is fine.  Until it starts to turn into things such as Erin-Go-Braless (which just makes me cringe).
  • Cottage cheese.  I don't get it.  I wish I understood why people like it so much.  Can someone please explain what I am missing?
  • Chasing after Harriet in my pajamas with corned beef in my hands
  •  Neither husband nor I felt like cooking dinner.  That means one thing, fend for yourself night.  And that means only one thing, cereal for diner.  Blah. (but no dishes, yay!)
  • Russell getting voted off on Survivor and then losing on Redemption Island.  Yeah, I am a Russell sympathizer.  If you watch the show, I am sure you have an opinion about the guy:)  Love him or hate him, he really played the game.

Awesome:
  • Husband and I looking up the words to "Don't Stop Believin'" and singing along with Journey at the top of our lungs.  Golly, I love him!
  • Chopped All-Stars-  I love this show normally, but throw in a bunch of Food Network pros, and I am in heaven
  • Reading The Hunger Games.  I am loving this book, and am really excited that there are two more after this. 
  • A late birthday gift from my sister- my initial and birthstone on a beautiful ball station chain.  I haven't taken it off since it arrived.  And husband gifted himself a cool new watch.  Not actually sure that he has taken that off either. 
  • A new spoon rest and teabag rest from Fishs Eddy- both are oversized and going to get lots of use.  The spoon rest says, "Rest in Grease," and the teabag rest says "Steep Up to the Plate."  As you can probably tell, we do a lot of cooking in our house.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring(ing) Ahead

This past weekend we set the clocks ahead by one hour, and that means the beginning of longer days and coming home from work when it is still light out.  It also means trips to the local gardening stores to pick up all the of fruit, veggies, flowers, and plants we want need  to make our house beautiful. 

The weather has been extremely mild.  The kind of days that would be wasted if spent inside.  I have only just started my planting (with the perennials pictured above) and I keep dreaming about what kind of colorful displays I am going to create this year.  I can't wait!


This is one of my favorite past creations.  I am definitely far from a professional, but I love the act of putting it all together, and then seeing how it turns out. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gaswatch

OK, I know I have complained about the soaring price of gas before, but there seems to be no end in sight.  And let's face it folks, I would rather stimulate the economy by shopping:) 

 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Breakfast Tart with Pancetta and Green Onions

First things first, I love the Food Network.  As husband and I have lived together, we have tried to find channels that we can both watch and enjoy together.  And this channel has something for everyone.  Plus, we get great ideas for new recipes we can add to our repertoire. 

The second thing is that I am not a huge fan of eggs, (under normal circumstances, I could take them or leave them) but add a little Gruyere, pancetta, and scallions to the dish and I am first in line to try it.  Mix in an episode of Giada at Home, where I could practically taste the melted cheese, and I knew that this Saturday would call for a little experimentation.

I purchased a pre-made pie crust that you can find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.   I also used diced pancetta from Trader Joe's. They were real time savers. Then I decided that it was time for me to man up and learn how to use the grater blade on our food processor.  And, hello!  Why did it take me to long to try it out?  I grated an entire brick of Gruyere in about 5 seconds.  Why have I been using that hand grater for so long, when I have this amazing little appliance? 

Mix it all together and bake it at 400 degrees for about 18 minutes, and you have a delicious (and very rich) breakfast.  Husband and I tried, but we couldn't wolf down more than a piece and a half each.  Easy to make, and well worth the (short) time it takes to get it together.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Running with Corned Beef in My Hands

But I'll get to that in a moment.

Look at that sweet face.  Like a precious little angel, right?


Well, let me tell you a little story about yesterday morning.  You see, I was ready to give the girls (Petunia and Harriet) their morning walk.  It was just your average morning. Birds were chirping.  I was wearing Uggs. I put on Petunia's leash and collar, and then I did the same for Harriet.  I opened up the front door and both girls headed outside.  Only Harriet bolted.  Somehow the leash had become detached from her collar.  And there she was, on my front lawn, with a look in her eyes that said, "C'mon mom, chase me."


My husband had been down this road before.  The week we got Harriet, she bolted out the front door when he opened it one day, and he spent the next half hour chasing her through our neighborhood.  Up and down the streets she went, while my husband feared she would run out into the street and get hit by a car.  Neighbors tried to assist him, but she is quite spry.  The cars that drove by would slow down and point in the direction that she had gone, so my husband could continue his pursuit.  Eventually, a nice neighbor (who lived about 4 blocks away) handed my husband a piece of turkey, with which he was able to lure Harriet back to him.  And that brings us to back to today.


Harriet ran down a cul-de-sac, and I seized the opportunity to corner her. It was a dangerous game, trying not to get close enough that she could make a sharp turn and dodge me, while still staying close enough that I could catch her. 

And then I see him.  My husband, coming towards me with Petunia and...what is that?  Is that corned beef?  Yes it is.  My brilliant husband brought the two things with him that thought Harriet would come back for, her sister and food.  And as I am running towards her (yes, with corned beef in my hands) she comes to me. That is when I realize I am still in my pajamas.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Awkward and Awesome Thursday

In the spirit of The Daybook....

Awkward:
  • Trying to type this on my laptop, while Petunia (the pug) is sitting on my laptop.  Actually, I have a hard time when I am typing on my desktop computer too.  She likes to sit on my lap and rest her chin on my keyboard.  Sometimes Harriet will join her, and I can't move my arms. 
  • The cost of gas has now topped $4 a gallon for regular, and there is no end in sight.
  • Not getting home from work before 7 PM once this week.  I am so lucky to have a wonderful husband that cooks.  I guess that is also a little awesome:)
  • Harriet and Petunia fighting.  My two precious girls.  And finding new ways to distract them. 
  • Finally got my speeding ticket in the mail.  That is a lot of shopping that I won't be doing.

Awesome:
  • Songs from 80's movie soundtracks.  Today I heard St. Elmo's Fire (from St. Elmo's Fire), Catch Me I'm Falling (from Hiding Out), and Don't You (Forget About Me) (from The Breakfast Club).  And now I suddenly need to see all of these movies.
  • Looking at my blog stats, and seeing people that have visited from all over the world.  Wow, that is just so cool.  It is amazing that you can communicate with people everywhere from a tiny little blog. 




  • Trader Joe's Vanilla Low Fat Yogurt with Almonds.  YUM!







  • Harriet patrolling my yard.  Chasing away all those pesky airplanes








    • Goldfinches that come to my bird feeder.  Beautiful, bright yellow birds.  I will try to get a better picture next time.  Promise.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Separated at Birth?

    I want these shoes.  I need these shoes.  I was almost set to buy these shoes.



    And then I discovered these.  And all was right in my world.


    
    Steve Madden Fraid  $ 79.95
    

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Watching the Days Go By


    I am having a little love affair with watches.  Sometimes dressing for work can be very boring, and I find that accessories are the one thing that can make an outfit more me.  There are so many on my current wishlist that I am not even sure what I want anymore, but here are some of my favorites:


    This watch may actually be at the top of my list, but I am thinking that I may want it in black.  I love the whimsical picture on the face.  The plastic strap is also very lightweight, which is a quality I like.

    Marc by Marc Jacobs Miss Marc Plastic Bracelet Watch $150 (also comes in black)

    I love all of the tortoise watches that the stores are showing for the spring.  I am not sure that this color would be a versatile with my wardrobe, which is my one hesitation in purchasing it. 

    Michael Kors MK5298 $180
    
    I adore this take on the everyday silver watch.  This would go with absolutely everything, and be a bit more exciting than a plain bracelet watch.

    Michael Kors Chronograph Chain Bracelet Watch  $195


    First of all, this watch purple.  Second of all, it has a square face.  And the strap wraps around the wrist  twice. What is there not to love about this? 

    Stainless Steel Rectangular Watch with Double Wrap Strap - Purple Snakeskin  $249


    Another trend I really dig for spring is rose gold.  Again, another versatile watch that can easily be worn to work (and add something a little trendy while still keeping a classic vibe). 

    Michael Kors Rose Goldtone Bracelet Chronograph Watch  $250


    Hello, watch!  This is a perfect pop of color.  I would wear it exactly the way I wear red shoes....to make something boring a little more lively. 
    
     

    MICHAEL Michael Kors Watch, Red Acetate Bracelet  $195

    
    And finally, I must mention my love of all things Swatch.  I had them as a child in the 80's, and am rocking them again today.  These are really more weekend wear for me, but I just adore these designs.  My vet has the watch below. (It is named "Germaphobe."  Perfect, right?)


    Swatch Medium Watches GW149 - WW Germaholic  $65


    I already own this watch, but feel it is worth mentioning to anyone else out there who may be looking for something bright and colorful and spring-y.  It is amazing that it also seems to match everything.  Or maybe I am just very brave.


    Swatch Women's Color The Sky Watch   $55

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Biscuits with Rhubarb Jam

    I love rhubarb.  Actually, I had no idea that I even liked rhubarb until I made the jam in this recipe.  I am now growing rhubarb in my garden, just so I can make it again (and even fresher).  I really love rhubarb.

    This recipe is very simple and pretty quick to make.  Dicing the rhubarb and cooking down the jam takes about 15 minutes.  And then you have perfect, sticky sweet jam.  It tastes fantastic warm, and even better after a night in the fridge.


    Making the dough is also a quick process, especially if you use an electric mixer to beat the cream.  And  mixing the dough by hand is kind of therapeutic.  I love the way it feels to get my hands in it and knead it around.  They taste nothing like your average, everyday buttermilk biscuits.
      

    Ok, ok, I have a new bouquet of irises and tulips that I had to sneak in here.  They are almost blooming.  Plus, don't you think they accentuate my wonderful biscuit making abilities?  Yep, that is heavy cream I am brushing them with (the biscuits, not the flowers).  Definitely not for the faint of heart (or super health conscious).


    In the end, I had this.  And breakfast for two days straight. 

    I'm Erin

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    Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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