Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 Oscars

Wellll....even I was bored! I honestly had high hopes for Anne Hathaway and James Franco. But - Anne seemed so cheesy and did he even show up? If I had made the call on hiring him - I would be pretty mad and strongly consider asking for my money back. :) There were some fun moments and I was thrilled that King's Speech did well but otherwise it felt looooooong.

And yes - I DID miss E!'s coverage of the red carpet. Man oh man I missed it. I watched the ABC red carpet show and the only great thing about was that they got some cool behind-the-scenes access because they were the network airing the actual show.

But let's talk dresses. Overall - still wasn't my favorite year. BUT - here are my favorites and a few thoughts:

Top Pick goes to Mila Kunis! I must really love the purple dress thing. Oddly - I thought it actually looked a lot better on my tv than it did in the pics. In the pictures - the difference between her skine tone and dress color isn't as strong. I loved the way the dress fit her and the color on her was beautiful.

Next up is Jennifer Hudson. 'Work it girl' is the most appropriate thing to say I think! She looked so glamorous and who would have guessed she was a normal girl just like us a few years ago???

Halle Berry looked unbelievably great. If I could have any other skin tone - I'd choose her's. Ohhhh that caramel skin and the way the dress sparkles against it!

Also loved Gwyneth this year! I could have used a bit more color make-up wise, but I loved the masculine edge to this dress.

NOW - oddly, I did not care for Amy Adam's dress at all on tv! I mean, it did nothing for me. But then I saw the pictures of it and felt like it deserved mention (on this widely widely read blog by all ten of us lol!). In the pictures - you can see how well the dress fits her. But still, I thought that the necklace on top of the heavy sparkle was too much.

And the weird but cool category I loved Cate Blanchett this year! Sometimes her choices are just toooooo cool for me lol. But wow - I thought that this was just a darn cool dress and I loved the pop of yellow at the very top. I kept saying - 'that's just cool!' I am obviously so well versed in fashion that 'cool' does the trick for me. :)

Well, this will likely be my last post on fashion until about this time next year. Until then, I'll be enjoying this experience called pregnancy and the new-found freedom to eat sweets with just a tad more liberty than before!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Oscars and Such

I believe I am one of very few people who love watching awards shows. I love the WHOLE EXPERIENCE though! We recently paired back our cable options so I won't have access to the E! red carpet countdown but the red carpet arrivals are probably my very favorite part. This year - I will need a new red carpet coverage option - maybe TV Guide?

I love beautiful things. I just do! I know that Hollywood is full of corruption and yuckity yuck yuck yuck but I cannot help that I am still drawn to the most feminine of visual experiences - all of those dresses and jewelry! :) I typically don't watch the shows in their entirety (who really cares about best oscar for make up artistry?) but I do watch most of them. And that's where I'll be this Sunday evening (sorry church friends!! it's a yearly date sort of thing)

I think Gan got me started on the Oscars. She loved watching them too and was a long-time Vogue subscriber - just to look at the pretty things. Gan was my grandma and quite the gal. When I was little, I would sketch dress designs all the time and I have a secret (not so much now I guess!) dream of working with top designers to create beautiful dresses to this day! So - let me share with you a few favorites from the 2010 Oscars. I will make every effort to get back to ya on Monday or Tuesday with my faves from 2011. FUN!

Zoe Saldana - my top pick from last year:

I thought Cameron looked so gorgeous!

I am not Angelina's biggest fan but hello! Those earrings make me salivate:

And I am really really not a big Miley fan (someone help her quick!) but I thought she looked so pretty:

Mmmmmmm....can't wait to see what this year holds! Happy Friday all!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


This is of utmost importance. Upon further review, I have determined that the white onesie with green frogs and four leaf clovers (hint hint) is a St. Patrick's Day kind of thing. Yes - I am sharp sharp sharp. It's just so cute but I did buy it in newborn size. Is it weird to put a newborn in something like that in AUGUST?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Baby Update

Everything changes in the quickest of moments! At 17.5 weeks, we had a doctor's appointment on Friday and this was the big one. The big gender reveal. I was surprisingly a little nervous going into it but Zion, of course, was my balancing act. :)

They do all of the other looking at the ultrasounds stuff first and then she says - and you want to know the gender, right? "RIGHT! YES!" After a little looking she was pretty certain but waited for Dr. Christy to come in confirm. Yep - Dr. Christy agreed - we're having a BOY!!! Needless to say - neither of us could stop smiling for a long time. It is so surreal to finally know a huge piece of who this little person is.

I keep thinking of all the pictures I have seen of Zion as a baby and then as a little boy - CUTE. I still try to wrap my mind around it - a son! A precious little boy. I am so thankful that God gives such perfect gifts and we are welcoming this boy into our hearts already.

Of course, in response to such news - the only appropriate thing to do is shop. Let me just say that boy clothes are coming up in the world. My mom and I made a stop by Target and picked out a few little things. It is so hard to believe that in five and a half months - there will be a real live baby to dress in them!

Let the shopping begin! LOL.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A New Goal and a Question

I hope that you are about to start or are already having a spectacular day. I love the word spectacular simply because of how special it sounds! But,I thought that I'd just quickly look up the official meaning for kicks. As an adjective, it means striking or sensational. So yes - I feel affirmed in my use of the word to wish you a spectacular day. Go forth and take in the spectacular!

A small note - the risotto I have mentioned in two blog posts before? Make it. Don't hesitate. I was a little concerned about getting the process right but the receipe ended up being dead on with no surprises. And it was a luxurious kind of yum. :)

So - this new goal that I mention in the title! Well, this year I have set out to memorize more of the Word of God. In all honesty - I am still trying to believe that I can and WILL do it! I had the desire in my heart and then remembered that Beth Moore's blog had a (large) group of women who post the verse they are memorizing twice a month for accountability. At the beginning - I had a lofty goal of one verse a month. And I was seriously proud of that lol! But this twice a month thing challenged me and so far - I am hanging in there. Get this - on the last blog post for Beth's verse challenge, over 7,500 women posted their verses they were memorizing. IS THAT NOT INSPIRING??

So my last verse was Psalm 28:7 "The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in him and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him."

Picking verses has been a little challenging. Honestly - I am going for bang for my buck. I need it to be short but power packed. :)

I have decided that I will also post here twice a month with my verses. Why not up the ante a bit and increase the accountability? All I can say is that I will be honest in the process!

Today, the verse I have decided to focus on for the next two weeks is:

Isaiah 30:18 "For the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!"

BAM! TRUTH! He longs to be gracious to me and to you and He WILL rise up to show me compassion. I am blessed for waiting on him and so are you - my handful of readers.

So question - what have been some helpful tips when you have gone to memorize? Also, I am thinking of googling 'GOOD SHORT verses to memorize.' LOL. Surely someone out there has come up with a list! Maybe a list of verses appropriate for kids to memorize?? Me and the kids. Not ashamed!

Have a spectacular day friends.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Risotto and Togetherness

Friday Friday Friday! There is nothing quite like the anticipation of a fresh weekend just in front of you. And - there is nothing like knowing that your favorite person is now less than an hour away from landing in Tulsa and spending the weekend with you. Did I do a fistpump and a little squeal (no exaggeration) moments ago when I saw that his plane had taken off on time? YES I DID. This month it kind of feels like we're in a long distance relationship and getting to see each other on the weekends. Hey it keeps things fresh right???

But did I mention that my husband is my favorite? He is. And he's coming home!

Did you know that I happen to love Valentine's Day? I do love the romantic part of it but I equally adore just the love part of it. Loving the people you love with exuberance! This year - I have managed to pull off what I always hope to do but have only been able to do one other time. Homemade Valentine's for some friends and family! I wish that I could make one for all of my friends but alas - they are time consuming!

I like to pull out all of the girlie stops - you know - mostly glitter. Although this year I did find some very fun 3d hearts that could be attached to the fronts of the cards and that was a special touch. I am getting used to this blogging thing. Next time I will take pictures!

Speaking of those I love - we are celebrating with some friends tomorrow night and I am making risotto! Now let me tell you - as I did my recipe research - I came to see that risotto is not necessarily a straightforward or short committment. But here is the winning recipe from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. She is one of my very favorites and she's never let me down with a recipe. I'll post again with a report of what I found in the actual experience but I am getting really excited to try it!

Wild Mushroom Risotto - Ina Garten

1-ounce dried morel mushrooms
1/2 pound fresh porcini or cremini mushrooms
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 cup chopped shallots (3 shallots)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Place the dried morels in a bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water over them. Set aside for 30 minutes. Scoop the morels from the water with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid. You should have 2 cups; if not, add water to make 2 cups. Drain the morels and rinse once more. If some of the mushrooms are large, cut into 2 or 3 pieces. Pour the mushroom liquid through a coffee filter or paper towel, discarding the gritty solids. Set the mushrooms and the liquid aside separately.

Meanwhile, remove and discard the stems of the porcini and rub any dirt off the caps with a damp paper towel. Dont rinse them! Slice thickly and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock with the 2 cups of reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a simmer.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the morels and porcini and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of the chicken stock mixture to the rice plus the saffron, salt, and pepper. Stir and simmer over low heat until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock mixture, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry before adding more of the stock mixture. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes total. When done, the risotto should be thick and creamy and not at all dry. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve hot in bowls with extra cheese.

I hope you have a weekend filled with love, extra good food, and laughter! Another Valentines post to come soon!

Monday, February 7, 2011

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

As promised!

1 pound bag of small red beans
1 pound of ham, cubed
4 stalks celery, cut up
6 carrots, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 TBSP salt - I used a bit less
2 small red peppers, the small shriveled dry type*

*Note: I added crushed red pepper flakes instead of the whole red peppers because it was what I had on hand.

Add all ingredients to a crock pot and add water to cover beans by about one inch. Cook on low for 20-24 hours. Add water in the morning (or half way through) if needed.

Such a simple recipe and so good! AND - your house will smell unbelievably good. Serve over rice.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Red Beans and Rice With a Side of Contentment

I know you must have been anxious to hear. So be still hearts. Red beans and rice was the winning recipe for this week. And I am not disappointed! It is my mom's recipe and it has a great New Orleans flare. It simmered for about TWENTY TWO HOURS. You read that right. Slow and low makes for yummmmmm.

Today I have been thinking about contentment. Isn't it typical of that crazy human nature to always be wanting what is ahead or what is not today or what looks desirable in someone else's life? We have this tendancy to quietly convince ourselves that when X happens, the relief/happiness/joy will come. Some of us consciously dwell on that thought and others find it in the traces of our deepest thoughts.

This month, my best friend and favorite person is on the road... a lot. Like a lot more than he will be home. I miss him. And a part of me would like to start throwing a royal pity party on my own behalf! But, thanks be to God (seriously!), He doesn't allow me to go there for very long.

A lot of us long to be married and could be tempted to wish away the days to that wedding day. A lot of us long for better jobs or more money. A lot of us dream of shedding 10, 30, 50 pounds. The list could go on and on couldn't it?

We have all had hearts desires met. And it IS always sweet. However - you and I both know that a met heart's desire does not solve problems. Only God can reach deep and satisfy the truest hungers of our souls.

Dreams are a good thing. I firmly believe in dreams. But today, I am reminded that God is the joy of my heart - no matter my circumstance. No matter how long I have waited for something, or am still waiting for it, or do or do not like today's circumstances.

So join me in resolving that today will not be a day of sorrow. It will not be a day of lusting for tomorrow. It will not be a day of discrediting what He is doing today.

Philippians 4:11-13 "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Food on the Mind

There are so many stereotypes associated with pregnancy....a lot of which are not so accurate for every woman. At least that's been my experience so far! I was actually looking forward to crazy cravings. LOL. At 15.5 weeks I can report that I have had no dominant cravings....but I can also report that I am thoroughly enjoying food! I find myself thinking about food - a lot. The second trimester has brought a renewed willingness for cooking projects.

So here's what is on the horizon for cooking in the upcoming days. I am trying to decide between two different dishes for next week. Zion is going to be traveling through Thursday night so I want to cook once on Sunday and eat off of it for at least two nights... maybe three! At this point - the battle is raging between New Orleans red beans and rice and Giada's chicken cacciatore. Either will be high in protein and both with be super tasty. Thoughts?

When Zion gets home next weekend the plan is to do a lemon roasted chicken and a wild mushroom/asparagus risotto. I LOVE risotto but I have never made it! When we have gotten to do a little traveling - the risotto dishes have always lured me in - both in Florence and in Paris. So, it's high time that I try my hand at a risotto. Do you have any tempting risotto dishes??

So - these days I am loving food. And I revel in it! Trying to keep it all in balance but also enjoying these limited days of needing more food than normal.

Closing thought: While working on my laptop today, I had the Barefoot Contessa on. She has given me some really great recipe wins over time. Let's just say this - she made something called 'brownie pudding.' It was kind of like a baked fudge - crusty baked outer shell and warm gooey pudding-ish inside. My mouth is watering just typing the words. :)

Okay - so help me. Red beans and rice or chicken cacciatore? Risotto recips anyone?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It Came!!!!

Well - the snow did indeed come. And with it came that beautiful quietness, chili in the crockpot, baked sweet potatoes, hot chocolate, and other excellencies. Hmmm.... that mostly had to do with food didn't it? LOL. Live it up people!