Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Best v.124

My oil painting class is trucking right along (an update on that later this week!) and although I'm definitely learning how to work the medium, I'm wanting to skip from elementary level to Cezanne level, like this lesser-known painting from his series on Mount Saint Victoire. How great are those colors? Just love it. 

Here are some links I found interesting this week:
  • Sneaky peek at Anne Hathaway's wedding gown.
  • Coveting one of these blue willow iphone cases.
  • Are we having a girl power moment?
  • This website tracks the electoral college votes as they stand.
  • Refinery 29 rounded up the BEST new fall beauty products.
  • Proof the little things still matter when it comes to decorum (esp. for royals!).
  • Texts from the BSC! I really really miss reading a new BSC book every week, btw.
  • Inspiring real-life weight loss, no filters, no photoshop.
  • Hilarious moments from the Emmys.
  • McSweeney's imagines what would happen if the NY Times revised its policy on cursing.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Jams of the Week

TV Jam: "The New Normal"

I wasn't interested based on the commercials, but "The New Normal" strikes a nice note between funny (albeit stereotyped out the wazoo) and touching. I wasn't sold until I saw this little girl's Little Edie obsession and then I knew I'd found a TV kindred spirit.

Style Jam: These Lulu Frost Earrings
Distraction Jam: Songpop

Have you played Songpop on Facebook? I'm kinda obsessed. Sometimes I'm really good and sometimes I click on all the wrong things and yelp in frustration because I knew the answers and somehow got confused in the moment! It's too much fun, and easy to play on your phone.

Literary Jam: "Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures"

I'm starting this book tonight! I've read Emma Straub's work in magazines, and as soon as I read the plot of her new novel, I thought it sounded like the kind of book I would write! I've always been obsessed with Old Hollywood, and always wondered about the interior lives of stars from that era, so this is right up my alley.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall Foods: Buffalo Chicken Dip

I tolerate football season. There are a select few things I like about the sport: tailgating, bundling clothes and eating things that are terrible for me/delicious morsels that warm my soul. Last night I had a craving for a total football food: buffalo chicken dip. I decided to completely shirk my responsibility as an adult to eat a healthy, well-balanced meal and opted to make myself dip for dinner and y'all, ain't no shame in my game. It was worth it.

 There are a million recipes out there, but I based mine off this one. I started out by frying a couple chicken breasts in simple olive oil...while they were turnin' nice and golden, I spread 8 ounces of cream cheese on the bottom of a baking dish.

Once the chicken was cooked, I shredded it with two forks. That's a lot of work folks, but at the end of the day, it's kinda therapeutic.

 The recipe I linked to recommends the classic Buffalo ingredient Frank's Red Hot, but I'm a wimp, so I got Texas Pete's mild Buffalo sauce.

 I tossed the shredded chicken in the sauce and let it sit for a short little bit while the oven, set to 350, preheated.

 I added the shredded chicken on top of the cream cheese, then a layer of Mexican shredded cheese and topped it with a little Ranch dressing. Omg, I think I'm going to go for a run right now just reading that ingredient list.

I baked the mixture until the cheese was completely melted and then ate about 1/3 and called it a day. It was super delicious...creamy and flavorful and easy. Maybe next time I'll share it with some real football fans?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beers and Breakfasts

My sister in law Katie was visiting this past weekend and as such, we ended up on an inadvertent beer tour of Hampton Roads, with a little brunch in Richmond thrown in the mix.

On Friday, we went to our fave, County Grill. I had my new favorite pumpkin beer: Pumking! It is magically delicious.

 On Saturday, we finally made it to Birch Bar in Norfolk, where we sampled amazing, difficult-to-pronounce and hard-to-find beers. I enjoyed this Gueza Lambic...a little sour, but still lovely. Another guy in our party had a chipotle porter and it was AMAZING. We followed up with dinner at Public House, where I learned that tempura-battered asparagus is fabulous and mac and cheese needs truffle dust.

 On Sunday, Katie and I ventured to have brunch with Becky (who wrote a guest post for me here) at The Black Sheep. The restaurant specializes in subs, err...battleships, that once enticed Man vs. Food for an episode. As tempting as that was ...

 I opted for "French Toast Fit for the King," an Elvis-inspired mix of French toast, peanut butter, bacon and grilled bananas topped with Pepsi syrup. It was as awesome as that sounds.

 Katie got the Bayou Breakfast, with fried catfish, grits, crawfish hollandaise and grilled andouille sausage.

Thanks to Becky for inviting us to such a fun spot! I'm thinking King-inspired French Toast might have to be added to the cooking repertoire.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fashion Review: Emmy's 2012

It's that time again! I do love awards shows so much, and this time, I had a partner-in-crime! Ashleigh weighed in on the best/worst dressed, so today, I'm sharing some of her picks. Let's get to it!

Best Dressed

Only Julianne Moore could show up wearing a long-sleeved, skin-tight, banana yellow Christian Dior gown and look fresh, glamorous and perfect. Yellow was a huge color at this year's Emmys, and she wore it best. I also have to give her major credit for not making it compete with a statement necklace the way I know I would have!

Ashleigh was in love with Leslie Mann's Naeem Khan dress. I was a little on the fence about the matchy-matchy turquoise accessories and the macrame quality of the bodice, but Ashleigh thought it was fresh and fun.

Ever since The Good Wife put her back on the awards show circuit, Juliana Margulies has worn a series of weird dresses that made me unhappy. But girl brought it in this Giambattista Valli gown with pretty earrings. I knew it looked a little like upholstery fabric, but it reminded me of Monet's waterlilies and just looked unique and elegant.

She didn't get even a minute of TV coverage, but Girls' Allison Williams killed it in this emerald Oscar de la Renta that did all the right things for her and managed to bring out her gorgeous blue eyes. We have major girl crushes on her.

I thought Julie Bowen's hair was a bit rat nest-y, but Ashleigh liked the edge and we both found ourselves drawn to her electric lime Monique Lhuillier gown. Totally unexpected color, so easy to go wrong, but exciting!

She has horrible posture in this picture, but Emily Van Camp looked very elegant, ethereal and sexy in her J. Mendel gown. I think she looks a little washed out in this pic, but she looked lovely on camera, and her bow bracelet was killer.

Ash said Lucy Liu's Versace dress made her look like a robot, but to me, it was pure Terminator glam. It's futuristic, but pure sex. 

I love actresses like Edie Falco who can mine the depths of dowdiness in their roles and then look fierce and glam on the red carpet. She looks modern and sexy in this navy Stella McCartney, and I love the metallic belt + the red nails. She brought it!

Ash wasn't feeling Nicole Kidman's Antonio Berardi gown, but I loved it. It reminds me of Aztec jewelry, and felt like a little throwback to this amazing Christian Dior gown she rocked back in the day. P.S. Doesn't that pic make you wish she was a redhead all the time?

Red prints like this kinda remind me of the blood splatter on Dexter, but Ashleigh sold me on this Monique Lhuillier gown on Ginnifer Goodwin. It's whimsical, finely detailed and tangerine is such a great color.

On the Fence

I totally liked Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Vera Wang gown, but the hair felt a little off for some reason and the earrings felt forced. I'm not sure that counts as valid criticism, but whatever, it's my blog.

Love the color and design of Kat Dennings' J. Mendel gown, but as a fellow busty gal, I can just say that a) that looked uncomfortable and b) was seriously so distracting that I doubt anyone will remember the person or face that was attached to those globes. Her make-up and hair, however, are perfection.

Morena Baccarin is one hot piece, but I was seriously torn by her Basil Soda gray dress. On one hand, it's an elegant color, accessorized to perfection and fits like a dream. On the other hand, the fabric kinda looked like chambray from certain angles and it looked an eensy bit like shark gills.

Zosia Mamet's Bihbu Mahopatra gown was interesting on top and made me groan when my eyes reached the bottom. When are leg cutouts ever interesting? Also, her hair style is very severe here.


Claire Danes has rocked my best dressed list for the past few years, but this Lanvin was a serious disappointment. It had the flattering fit of a tangled shower curtain and looked like she just plain gave up. It made pregnancy look like a miserable curse.

I adore Lena Dunham. She is funny, self-deprecating, educated and mouthy, but good lord, I hated this Prada. It reminded me of a floor-length Forever 21 dress, and just looked twee/cheap. I also would love to see a sweet smile! Adore the eye make-up, though.

 Heidi's Alexander Vaulthier dress seemed to scream, "I'm just went through an awkward divorce that makes me look like a slut who sleeps with the help and I decided, hey, what's wrong with that?" It also reminded me of something Scuttle would design for Ariel (The Little Mermaid) in a desperate make-it-work moment with sailcloth and rope.

Dude, January Jones just rubs me the wrong way. Her eye makeup + crazy fly-away hair + frenetic Zac Posen gown was a serious Black Swan moment, in a bad way. Part of me kinda likes the fabric of the skirt (does it sort of have the effect of black brush strokes?), but the overall effect is ick.

Emilia Clarke's Chanel gown is just a big no. The bodice is lovely, but mullet dresses already weird me out, then paired with a tea-length half-dress, then nude shoes? This dress has schizophrenia. Also, she needs to give up on having an identity as a brunette; anyone who knows her from Game of Thrones was like, "Who is that?!"

 Sigh. How many times, friends, have I used this space to opine the plight of Christina Hendricks? She is a beautiful woman, with ample assets, and apparently no knowledge of what looks good on her or works for her. This Jessica Rabbit-goes-to-work look isn't cutting it. She also looks supremely uncomfortable in this Christian Siriano gown. Designers: I challenge you to dress this glorious woman to perfection by the Golden Globes! Am I crazy for thinking a variation of this might work?

All of the Mad Men girls were struggling! I like Elisabeth Moss' edgy blond cut, but this chintzy Dolce & Gabbana gown didn't do her any favors and had a slight Carmen Miranda thing going on with its shape. She either needs a stylist or a new one.

 Glenn Close's gown looks like it was designed by Edward Scissorhands, crafting the perfect Morticia Addamms costume in time for Halloween. I'm ready for her to BRING IT, because she is a fierce lady and I know she can do it.

Ashleigh liked this one, but I was not feelin' Hayden Panettiere's fussy Marchesa confection. Its haphazard quality looked less like purposeful design and more like the result of one of those dresses you end up designing with toilet paper at a bridal shower. The hair also looked too prom.

And in an oh-how-the-mighty-have-fallen moment, Ashley Judd showed up in this truly heinous Carolina Herrera gown with a beehive that, when paired together, looked like something out of the montage scene in 27 Dresses. I'm going to choose to remember her like this.

There were so many more dresses I really hated...that doesn't happen very often, but it's a good thing, because it means people were feeling really adventurous this year. What were you loving and hating? Leave it in the comments.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Best v.123

A penny, with oil paint, by Jacqueline Lou Skaggs. I find this really inspiring as I move forward with my oil painting class...why be limited to canvas?

I'm having a great weekend, spending lots of time with friends, which is one of the most restorative things you can do for yourself and doesn't usually cost much money. A good meal and good conversation beats a Netflix marathon any day.
  • A letter to today's mother hens.
  • So entertained to find someone else who loved the lead singer of Dee-Lite.
  • A cat who sings along perfectly with Collective Soul.
  • Parker Posey's guide to giving an Emmy's acceptance speech.
  • A story of true love, told by Diane Kruger.
  • This artist drew self-portraits after taking every kind of drug.
  • DMX doesn't understand Google.
  • Backstage with ballerinas.
  • The cutest video of Kate Middleton dancing ever.
  • A brilliant new web site lets you sign up to deliver meals to friends after they've had a baby, just moved, lost a family member or whatever.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Jams of the Week

Bad for Me Food Jams:

I had the misfortune of trying both of these incredibly bad-for-me junk foods and falling head over heels. Carolina BBQ is brilliant, like salt and vinegar chips + bbq chips. And Reese's added to chewy Chips Ahoy? I don't know if I can ever go back. (but um, I can't buy anymore or I will need new pants.)

Nail Color Jam: Revlon's Spice It Up
This color is perfect for fall...dark and moody, but spicy red with shiny flecks. Revlon nail polish also holds up really well.

Music Jam: Niki & the Dove
I've been jamming to this whole album for a month or two and it not only doesn't get old, but gets better with more listens. 

Art Jam: Kirkland Bray

Kirkland Bray's paintings are inspired by memories of his hometown before and after it grew from a small town to a bigger suburb. This is oil on wood and I can't explain why, but I just love it. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Best Dance Party Ever: Girl Talk

Last night, my friends Erica and Ashleigh joined me on a bit of a crazy endeavor...we decided to leave, after work, and drive 2 hours to see Girl Talk, a DJ who layers popular songs from all eras in brilliant ways. It was the best dance party of my life! Here's some pictures that capture the experience:

If you've never seen Girl Talk, here's an awesome video that captures exactly what it's like: