Sunday, April 25, 2010

sunday morning hangovers.

Last night my LA family and I had a little early birthday celebration at my favorite LA hotspot, The Soho House.  The sun was setting, the drinks were flowing and it wasn't long before we were all taking shots and in full celebration mode. My girlfriends and I found ourselves in the restroom chatting about our pending hangovers when a girl burst out of one of the stalls instantly imparting her strategy for that ever illusive 'night of drinking without a hint of a hangover'. 
I did a little research this morning and there is actually some evidence to support her said theory.  
Tequila is the constant ingredient and the rest goes something like this.
Tequila and the juice of two limes followed by

tequila and pineapple juice.
Continue to alternate between the two for hangover busting power.
The key ingredient here is the Bromelain found in the pineapple juice which is a super hydrating and anti inflammatory enzyme.  Apparently the citrus in the lime  kicks up the bromelain power and keeps you super hydrated, allowing you the fun of a boozy Saturday night and dodging the nasty, puffy hangover that usually follows.
Unfortunately I can't give her a shout out as I don't remember her name and if this actually works then who knows, she might've been an apparition. Then again right after our restroom rendezvous I saw her accost a celeb at the bar and proceed to give him advice on how he can improve his character on his current hit ABC series, "give me more eyes, not so much mouth... you rely too much on your mouth and it's uncomfortable..." Clearly she's a well of wisdom.
After my night of filthy dirty martini's I'm going to take some advil and take my puffy swollen self back to bed.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dirty Secrets and Dirty Laundry

Time to come clean, time to admit a dirty little secret that I've been coveting for some time now. Growing up in Australia my Saturday mornings were all about cartoons. The Smurfs, The Snorks, The Jetsons, Scooby Doo, Scrappy Doo, you name it, if it was animated and fantastical I was in.  Although my Saturday mornings don't include cartoons anymore I will shamefully admit that it's now much worse.  Rather than graduating from one guilty pleasure and evolving into something a little more sophisticated, I have found myself completely regressed.  My boyfriend would love it if I spent my morning catching up on world news and finding out what important things are happening in the global community but sadly, no. Instead I wake up long before he gets out of bed so that I can start indulging in my guilty pleasure...yes, the best and the worst of "reality" tv.  It's true I'm suffering from an addiction and I'm loving every minute of it.
Real Housewives series (mostly NYC), Jamie Oliver, Tori and Dean and Kimora, I spend my morning with my cup of tea a diy mani and the remote. 

you don't know jacques!  
The reasons I have told myself and my boyfriend that I love this junky genre vary from an array of intellectualized excuses to simple statements. "I find it to be anthropologically fascinating" or "There's nothing else on". Either way I find myself equally drawn to the lives of other people and the whole 'living a life in the day of' experience. Sometimes I'm annoyed, sometimes I'm inspired, and sometimes I care and sometimes I really don't, either way it's easy television. It's like having a conversation with a familiar friend and sometimes it might be the friends that you're not sure you entirely embrace but all in all I know what it is and I love it anyway!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Love is in the air

Is it just me or is spring fever getting to everyone else too? Now, I know I live in LA so the temperature vary's a whole 50 degrees for all four seasons, but honestly there's something in the air right now! The stores are jam packed with dreamy pieces, the shoes are to d.i.e. for and I find myself wanting to create events in order to orchestrate a whole new ensemble for myself. California chic meets military reform in a field of wild flowers are all where it's at for me this season. 

My favorite hot spots to check out at the moment are:
anthropologie, now, always and forever

check them out!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Whoa Baby!

When I see one of my dearest girlfriends with her baby everything in my body screams, "I want one!" It's true that I've always wanted babies but as I get older I become more aware of the complexities of raising a happy child and just how much it changes everything you once knew to be true.  
I spent an afternoon with this fashion savvy new mommy making her Mama's Abondiga soup and chatting about motherhood.
1 lb lean ground turkey
2 eggs
1 cup white rice
3 lg potatoes
1 tablespoon oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste

combine meat, eggs, spices and rice

What were the biggest changes you experienced after becoming a Mom?
Everything changes. You always have an idea of what motherhood will be like but it's all those things multiplied by all the things that you never could've anticipated. I expected my marriage to change but I didn't realize that it would change quite so much and all for the better. The love I share with my husband has deepened in ways that I didn't know were possible.  When I look at my baby, I see him starring back at me and the love that we shared in order to create her. It's more profound than I ever could've bargained for.
chop potato into large pieces and fill large soup pot 1/2 way with water. Bring to boil.

My friendships are the ones that have suffered the most since Stella was born.  Babies are magical little things, they have the ability to cut through all of the 'bs' and find out who's in for what. Sometimes we can find ourselves surrounded by friends that are all about the good times and that's okay but when you're a new mom and you're terrified, you need the real deal girlfriends, your 'sisters'. You need that tribe of people who will come over and listen to your fears about leaving the window open or ramble about the wonders of poop and how today you're a bad mom because you forgot to cut your babies nails. You need people around you who will give your friendship room so that you can become the woman and mother that you are trying to be. 
make meat into desired sized meatballs

Advice for new moms?  
Just let go.  Realize that you can't control everything, you will be surprised, confused, elated, EXHAUSTED and emotional on a daily basis from the second this creature is born.  Nothing will be how you imagined it to be.  Nothing.   ~ Except for how deeply you will love this child... and even the depths of that love will shock you
add meat balls to boiling water and allow meatballs to cook for 30 minutes

Baby weight advice?  
Don't even think about dieting for a good four or five months.  And even then - do it gradually.  Enjoy your time with your new cub, relax and eat the comfort food that (good) friends will bring to you.  I spent a lot of time worrying about getting my pre-baby body back, in addition to all of the other stresses and lack of sleep that comes with being a new mom!  It was so stupid.  Let yourself heal.  Again, let go!  I didn't even begin to feel like myself again until at least five months, and when I did, I was HAPPY to get on that elliptical and get back into the swing of life and watching what I ate.  And then the pounds just melted off.  But remember, your post-baby weight is determined by where your body was BEFORE you got pregnant.  I was lucky to have been in great shape because I was working out a lot with a trainer before our wedding, so that helped. 
add potatoes and continue to cook until potatoes are soft

Fashion advice for new moms?  
Don't go out and buy an entire new wardrobe for your "in between" size.  But it's ok to get a few things.  It will make you feel better than still wearing your maternity gear, and nothing is more depressing that trying to squeeze into your old jeans when you feel like you'll never fit into them again.  So, get a decent pair of jeans - don't spend a lot, you will get rid of these in a few months. (I found some at Old Navy, spent like $25 bucks, they were cozy, cool, inexpensive and I wore them every day!) Keep your leggings and flowy tops, but pack away your maternity clothes and THROW AWAY the giant underwear and go to Victoria's Secret to treat yourself to some new ones!  It will make you feel good and excited to get back to being you again.  Once you're back to your pre-baby size, follow my blog! hahahaha
serve piping hot with warm tortilla and cheese. Delish! 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

wine o'clock

My family has a long history with wine making. A little known fact is that my dad actually started one of many successful vineyards in South Australia's Barossa Valley, including one of the largest Aussie wine exports, "Rosemount Estates". You'd think that with such an extensive history in this subject that I'd know a thing or two about it....nope. I even signed up for our University's "wine appreciation society" however I'm not sure how much appreciating was achieved. Felt a little more like wine abuse to be totally honest and to make matters worse, I'm pretty sure that's why I signed up!  Anytime my dad asked me what I'd learned I threw a couple of phrases around like "it's got good legs and great tannins...." he was onto me. 
Overtime Dylan and I have collected some great wines that we want to open in future momentous occasions, so we bought one of those wine coolers that stores wine at its optimum temperature. Poor Dylan came home from another 13 hour day that was more than trying due to the long hours, it was just one of 'those' days. We decided that these kinds of unavoidable shitty days can always be turned around at the 11th hour with an expensive bottle of red. I giggled a little as he carefully took one off the top shelf and watched eagerly as he began to open the bottle.  To be honest, for what we payed for it, I kind of expected a Genie to materialize and grant us three wishes.... now THAT would turn the day around. Instead we were gifted with this beautifully deep crimson liquid that was so smooth that it slid down completely effortlessly. Probably far too effortlessly and far too quickly which is why D and I ended up drunk and fast asleep not too long after!
Here's some tips on wine tasting so that next time we decide to crack open one of the goodies, I can appreciate it without guzzling it.... or at the very least appreciate it WHILE guzzling it!

Monday, April 19, 2010

up up and away...!

This time next week my boyfriend and I will be on our way to my first home, Australia.  I'm literally counting down the days! I've been traveling between the two countries for around 7 years now and through trial and error, I've perfected the art of long distance flight travel.  Now when you're traveling first class it's a little easier to arrive looking refreshed (and have legs that don't like overly stuffed bratwurst) but when you're flying coach, there's an absolute art to it.  Here's a couple of tips that I've learned through my years of trial and error travel!
Drink up

Hold on hold on, I don't mean alcohol, I mean some good ol' H2O! Now don't wait until the flight to start drinking. Start hydrating your body a good 24 hours before you take off. If you wait until you're in the air to drink, your body may hold onto all of the fluid due to sudden hydration combined with altitude and little movement. Also don't forget to purchase your large bottle of water after you pass through security! Enjoy a glass of wine (or two) but avoid drinking too much on the flight.  
Eat light and right

I know that with all the packing, cleaning and organizing that comes with leaving town the last thing you want to do is cook. Which is okay! Just don't reach for the high sodium, high processed foods that are oh so convenient. Not unless you want to arrive looking like someone blew you up like a helium balloon.  In fact to reduce your jet lag and increase overall well being upon arrival, try to eat light 24 hours before your flight and load up on lots of fruits and of course! And that also means lay off of the salted peanuts and chips they serve you on the flight!

We all know that regular exercise is important to feeling and looking your best.  It's no different when it comes to travel. Make sure that you get your heart pumping a little before you get on your flight.  Turbulence and other unexpected circumstances can occur, which may make you seat bound for most of your flight. Get that oxygen in your blood cells and move when you can, even if it's stretching in your seat (without poking your patron in the eye) move that bod!
Colgate 'Wisp'. These portable toothbrushes have saved my life on more than one occasion.  They're fabulous even when you're not traveling! The small mouthwash ball in the middle of the brush bursts as you start to clean and it's a brilliant alternative if the line to the restroom is too long or you can't get out of your seat. A good all purpose salve is a must on flights. My favorite is a good Aussie staple, Lucas' pawpaw ointment. A must for every make up bag.  Spritz your face throughout the flight with another Australian beauty staple.  Jurlique rosewater facial mist is a wonderful way to refresh yourself after a long flight right before landing.  Make up wipes are another great alternative to a good cleansing routine.  The water pressure isn't great in those tiny restrooms and again something you can do if you can't get out of your seat.  If you make it into the restroom, you can also wet the towelette and wash your face with cool water to wake up your skin and tighten those pores.

A good moisturizer is a must at all times. I love to go to Sephora and stock up on my favorite samples so that mid flight I can keep myself busy with a bag filled with goodies! Deodorant. Need I say more? A convertible stain is a great way to keep your immediate travel bag simplified yet diverse.  Dab some on your lips and cheeks for that youthful glowing flush. Aspirin is not only great for headaches, it also reduces the chance of blood clots due to little movement. Mascara for a quick touch up and eye drops if you didn't manage to get an ounce of shut eye cause the person next to you was snoring!
Get it right the first time!  I hate changing mid flight so I make sure that I dress for a myriad of temperatures.  Wear a comfortable pair of ballet flats that don't take up too much room under your seat and bring a cozy pair of socks.  I always wear a poncho or large scarf that can turn into a blanket. Avoid linen as it always looks sloppy after you've turned yourself into a pretzel from getting that numb bum. Choose some nice light pants or leggings, something that doesn't wrinkle or stretch out.... but wait!!!! Put down the velour and step away from the tracksuit.  Let it go, its day has come and gone my friends.
You'd think I'd stuck my fingers in a socket after I brush my hair mid-flight. I like to braid it before boarding and take it out right before landing.  I use a little water to scrunch up the ends and get a little texture happening. Another great alternative are headbands. Throw your hair in a messy loose bun and put some dazzle amongst the do. There are some really pretty ones out there and my heart always flutters for the Anthropologie kind. They dress up even the most casual outfit of jeans and a tee. 
Carry On
Try to keep it simple and organized.  There is such a thing as being prepared but being prepared and neurotic are two different things! You never know if your flight is going to be cancelled or your luggage lost but that doesn't mean you need to bring the kitchen sink! This is my carry on list.
Two pairs of extra underwear.
Great book I'm already reading or magazines.
Make up bag filled with essentials (some listed above plus toothbrush).
Warm socks.
Pens (someone will always ask for one).
Handheld mirror.
Long sleeve tee or short sleeve tee depending on temperature change.
Protein bar/s.
PG Tips Tea Bags (I'm a tea fanatic and a total fuss pot about what I drink).
Local cash (wherever you're going take the local currency with you. It can make for easier transfers if buses, subways or cabs are involved.)
Happy and safe travels!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

lemon cookie drops

These little gems are a lovely alternative to chocolate for those few people out there who actually need an alternative to chocolate! They're great after a really spicy meal and can be made with any citrus so feel free to mix it up!
This recipe makes 60 cookies.
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 and then later 2/3 of confectioners sugar
1 1/2 lemons finely zested
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Place 1 1/2 sticks of room temperature butter in your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. It's always really important to start with room temperature butter so leave it out overnight or speed up the process by putting the butter in a ziplock and laying it in some room temperature water.
Whip butter until it reaches a fluffy consistency.
Gradually add 1/3 cup of powdered sugar to the whipped butter mixture.
Once the mixture is combined and fluffy, add the zest of 1 1/2 large lemons.
Add two tablespoons of lemon juice and one tablespoon of pure vanilla extract.
Once everything is fully combined get ready to add flour (keep in mind that you can never really over mix butter and sugar, it's when you add the flour that you have to be careful)
Sift together 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of good all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon of course salt into a separate bowl.
On the lowest setting of your mixer (or do it by hand) gradually fold in the flour mixture. Right before you add the last 1/4 of a cup, (or there about) fold the rest in by hand until it's just incorporated.  
Separate mixture into two equal parts and form a log with 1 1/4 inches diameter on a piece of parchment paper. 
Roll in parchment and make sure that the log is an even thickness of 1/14 inches. Using a straight edge ruler helps. 
place in refrigerator for at least an hour until the dough is completely firm and cold. Then cut into 1/4 inch rounds and place on a backing sheet lined with parchment paper approximately 1 inch apart.
Bake for approximately 13 minutes until cookies are barely golden, rotating half way through to ensure even baking. Transfer to wire cooling rack and allow to settle for 8 minutes. While still warm toss with 2/3 of a cup of powdered sugar and enjoy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sugar... A Love Story.

nutella lady bird, hummingbird cupcake, 'on the green' cupcake, daisy cupcake.
I've had a hard time hiding my severe love affair for baking.  Okay fine, baking AND some sugary products. I mean if I'm really going to come clean these seductive treats and I have been seriously involved for many years now. There may or may not have been certain incidences (that shall remain nameless) that involved one or more girlfriends catching me mid 'rendezvous'. It always goes something like this, "Stop! Put down the Nutella and step away from the nilla' wafers".  I won't deny that there have been times that I have foolishly attempted to scale down my commitment to sugar but at the end of the day nothing makes me happier than helping a baked good reach its full potential.  
golf cupcake inspired by my boyfriends love of golf...and sugar
Unfortunately I have introduced this magical bond to my boyfriend who now has a new found passion for breakfast desserts, lunch desserts and dinner desserts. He likes to call it "changing the palate", something my mum taught him... Although every baked good has a million variables that can make or break its success, to me that's magic of baking.  Every time you open the oven door to reveal your sweet treat, it's like Christmas morning.  You know what you're hoping for, but you never really know what you're going to get .

I'm spending the day today baking for a charity fundraiser and couldn't be happier. So here's to a day filled with lots of love and good juju being baked into these hopefully sold out cookies!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I ♡ date night

Every Tuesday (or there abouts) my boyfriend puts together our weekly date night. Whilst I sometimes feel a little guilty about my lack of planning our sultry rendezvous, he always assures me with, "babe, you plan every night of our life, surely I can handle one night a week". Bless.  So, in an effort to encourage his romanticism, I'll be reporting the fabulous little LA locations he takes me to.
Last night was Hollywood's Vinolio.  With its raw and exposed cement walls, (that look like they've seen an earthquake or two) dark and intimate lighting provided by rustic iron chandeliers and plenty a 'nook and cranny' for LA lovers to stow away in, this appears to be a fusion of LA's famous dive bars and an old italian wine bar.  Sound alluring yet?  Well upon entering the 'dine' bar (get it, wine and dive makes d.......sigh....never mind) you're blasted by a fabulous jazz musician belting out some good ol' jazz riffs on his strikingly colored cornet, blatantly reminiscent of many an LA patron's pearly whites. 
As soon as we sat down I could smell fresh lemon being squeezed onto some piping hot fried calamari and I was sold. The menu is not extensive, which is always a plus in my book and the specials were seasonal and sounded fresh and diverse.  Although the sheer volume of 'ol' mate jazzy McGee' was a little too much for a first date, (he literally came to our table at one point to hit a couple of those big notes) it was a fun way to experience the cultural side of LA...  My boyfriends heading off to work now and I'm pretty sure he didn't just say "left shoe and call me gator".. then again it could be a side effect of being serenaded by a trumpet.


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