Monday, November 29, 2010

Best Books of 2010

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and got to spend quality time with close family and friends. I know I did! I ate too much, slept too much and was just all around was perfect!!!

I can't believe 2010 is almost over! I thought I would talk today about some books I have read this past year that I thought were must reads. From about April to July I had a lot of time on my hands. My husband and I moved to FL and it took me awhile to get settled so I spent a lot of time reading, something I had not had time to do in YEARS!!!

I have to say the best book I read all year was "Let the Great World Spin" by Colum McCann. Such a great read!

I also read "Little Bee" by Chris Cleave. I've heard this book is not for everyone. I lent it to my Grandma who LOVES to read and she hated it and let me know, I loved it!

"Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay was one I started, put down, picked back up again and was so glad I did!! Such a great book with a super sad start and great ending! Perfect rainy day read.

"The Council of Dads" by Bruce Feiler was unbelievable! Talk about a life-changing, tear jerker....this book will make you laugh out loud and cry all in the same chapter. I read this one in a day.

"Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett was such a good book! This one isn't too new but it was really a great story with a lot of turns and twists and the plot itself is just so unimaginable. Read this one on a flight....great plane and airport read.

So those are a few of the books I read this year and thought I would share. It's coming up on that time of year where you get a little time off to just relax and be with friends and family so what better time to curl up in front of the fire with a good book? Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It's official....I broke out the Christmas music. As I type to my loyal readers I am listening to my all time favorite, Michael Buble!!

I've been working on home-made knitted gifts today and cooking desserts at my parents home for upcoming visitors tomorrow. It got me thinking about my all-time favorite Turkey day treats. My personal favorite is corn pudding. I know it may sound gross but if your from the south you know this side all too well. The sweet corn, combined with more sugar.....I can't get enough. My mother on the other hand loves collards and it is the ONLY side she refuses to make herself. We have a local BBQ restaurant that makes the best collards. She loads up early in November and freezes them, they are wonderful. My dad would be fine with a plate of turkey. My husband likes to have new and fun things at Thanksgiving like the year we did a pork roast instead of a turkey.

This year I am contributing a cake. Not just any cake, Nigella Lawson's Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake. I have been so excited about this cake for about 3 weeks now, I may just forgo turkey all together to save room for this mouth-watering chocolate pleasure. Below is the may be too late to add to your Thanksgiving menu but maybe try it for Christmas!!

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks soft unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon good-quality vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or morsels
1 teaspoon cocoa
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1-ounce dark chocolate (from a thick bar if possible), cut into splinters of varying thickness, for garnish
Special equipment: 2-pound loaf tin (approximately 9 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 3 inches deep), lined with greased foil, pressed into the corners and with some overhang at the top. Alternatively, substitute a silicon loaf tin, no foil lining necessary.
Take whatever you need out of the refrigerator so that all ingredients can come room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, putting in a baking sheet as you do so.

Put the flour, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream into the processor and blitz until a smooth, satiny brown batter. Scrape down with a rubber spatula and process again while pouring the boiling water down the funnel. Switch it off, then remove the lid and the well-scraped double-bladed knife and, still using your rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips or morsels.

Scrape and pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and put into the oven, cooking for about 1 hour. When ready, the loaf will be risen and split down the middle and a cake-tester will pretty well come out clean.

Not long before the cake is due out of the oven (when it has had about 45 to 50 minutes), put the syrup ingredients of cocoa, water and sugar into a small saucepan and boil for about 5 minutes, to give a thick syrup.

Take the ceake out of the oven and sit it on a cooling rack, still in the tin, and pierce here and there with a cake tester. Pour the syrup over the cake.

Let the cake become completely cold and then slip out of its tin, removing the foil as you do so. Sit on an oblong or other plate. Sprinkle the chocolate splinters over the top of the sticky surface of the cake

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm the Only Girl in the World

Ok, so maybe I'm not the only girl in the world but this hit singer sometimes seems to be. I just love Rihanna's new song! I was never a huge fan of Rihanna until recently and now I seem to like all her music, kind of works that way when an artist makes one song you love, the rest seem just as great. I have always thought Rihanna's fashion was a bit too edgy. Her hair alone is a huge no no for me, but she totally pulls in off with style and grace.

I clipped a few of her looks below. Tell me what you think! I have my faves of course but love to see what others like as well.

Here she is at the 2010 Grammys wearing a dress from Elie Saab Haute Couture.

Here is a fun group of photos of Rihanna's everyday looks while at Paris Fashion Week.

While on stage.

This one is my fave. LOVE LOVE LOVE this Monique Lhuillier gown.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

DO Judge a Book by it's Cover!!

I love books. I love to read a great book, but I also love those fabulous "coffee table" books you can find that you don't really care what's inside but the cover is so great you just have to buy it. I love to look at pictures of crammed bookcases with a few knick-knacks thrown in......and wish I had enough books (or even a wall of bookshelves) to arrange my own living book collage.

Here are a few shelves I have found over time that I just love. I love the colors and the feeling I imagine of being surrounded by so many fun books.

I'm loving this comfy chair and all the books in grabs reach! I also love the idea of pairing like color books together.....really sets it off.

This one is a great idea from Real Simple for the option of books AND fun knick-knacks. The article also talks about painting the inside of the bookshelf which I love. It makes all the choices you have made POP.

Now let's move onto those fun books to fill your bookshelf! I prefer different sizes all around and bright, BRIGHT colors.

I love Fred Flare for all kinds of fun things, but they have an amazing collection of conversation starting books. These would be great for the shelves, but if you have a coffee table with room, I would lay these choices out for all to see and flip through.

I also love Anthropologie for book choices. Below are some adorable clothbound children's classics. Wouldn't they look great stacked up with a vase on top?

As you can tell by many of my choices, I love fashion and color. Go for what describes you. Do you love a certain dog or bird....go for books full of pictures of animals. How about historic homes, photography or even a fun hobby? Have fun with it and let your books give a little glimpse into your life. Have fun book shopping.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Few of My Favorites Friday

I'm going to start discussing some of my favorite products on Fridays. Some will be new things I have found, others things I have been using for years and can't get enough of!

I have been a loyal Kiehls supporter for years. I love everything from hair products, lotions, dog shampoo, men's products (for my husband of course) and I love their facial products. I have switched back and forth a few times with products as my skin (and sadly age) changes. I recently switched to a new line of products called Rare Earth. Every product in this line is amazing! The product uses Amazonian White Clay and Diatomaceous Earth particles (I totally copy and pasted that from their site so please don't ask me what it is). All I know is this stuff makes my face feel so good and I have noticed a difference in pore size and all around break-outs.

Here is the full line

I use the daily cleanser and lotion twice a day. I have used the mask a few times, but have not tried the toner. Sometimes toners scare me because my skin is a bit dry but I'm sure theirs is great!

I suggest if you want to switch to Kiehls or even try some products, find a Kiehls counter in your area (Saks in Raleigh is great and ask for Christine!) and work with one person. The Kiehls employees are very well trained and really care about their customers. They give many samples with each purchase and the more they get to know you the better your samples get!

So try it out....if you are a bit scared and like to stick to your current lotions and potions, start off with the Creme de Corps, best lotion on the planet. You won't be disappointed!

Happy Weekend!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2010 Stocking Stuffer Ideas

By now you may have all your big presents out of the way, or you may not have started, I won't judge! But if you're like me, the stocking is the best part. I for one know most of the gifts I am receiving. I do love surprises but I also love getting that one item I just can't justify buying myself for no reason, you know when there is food to put on the table, a great dane to feed and an electric bill to pay.....those $250 jeans just don't seem so practical then. But when Christmas rolls around, when better to ask. So even though I'm excited to wear those jeans I picked out back in September, what I get most excited about is the sweet, tiny treasure waiting deep down in the toe of that stocking. So here are some picks this year for the budget friendly stocking and also for the stocking that has limitless amounts of gift giving bliss!

How cute are these sweet bow posts from Anthro?? And only $24....get 2!!!

Another Anthro choice

A pair of fox trimmed leather gloves from Neiman's won't hurt....these are for the non-budget conscience

You can never have enough Moleskin, in pink of course

These Jonathan Adler iPhone cases are so in each color please

Chocolates are always a fun choice, try something different like a hint of Cayenne

Last, but certainly not least, I think I could give a very good home to this Ileana Makri ring, and a steal for only $15,000

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shut the Front Door!!!!

I am seriously obsessed with Rachel Zoe! I mean come on, she has got to have the coolest job ever. I'm sure there are ALOT of stylist out there, kind of like starving artist just itching for clients and getting their name out there but Rachel is the BEST in the BIZ! I love to check Pepperlime and see her picks. I don't get to watch her show as much as I would like, my husband has about had it with all my reality shows, but I just think she is the greatest....she's BANANAS!!!

Here are some of her latest "picks" from Pepperlime.....which ones are your faves???
1.Twelfth Street $425
2. Milly $325
3. Aryn K. $86
4. Badgley Mischka $200

My Next Life

I can't of course take credit for this awesome posting, that goes to Woody Allen. I can't even take credit for finding it, that goes to this super cute girl we go to church with that I snagged from her Facebook page....Thanks Elizabeth:) But to be honest, it has stuck with me the last fews days. It's so funny yet so real. If we could all just stop worrying about "LIFE" and enjoy ourselves, can you just imagine how much better the world would be??? Read it, laugh, reflect, then share it with someone and laugh even harder together!

My Next Life
by Woody Allen

In my next life I want to live backwards.
You start out dead and get that out of the way.

Then you wake up in an old people's home
feeling better every day.

You get kicked out for being too healthy,
go collect your pension, and then when
you start work, you get a gold watch
and a party on your first day.

You work for 40 years until you're young
enough to enjoy your retirement.

You party, drink alcohol, and are
generally promiscuous, then you
are ready for high school.

You then go to primary school,
you become a kid, you play.
You have no responsibilities,
you become a baby until you
are born. And then you spend
your last 9 months floating in
luxurious spa like conditions with
central heating and room service
on tap, larger quarters every day
and then, Voila!
You finish off as an orgasm!

I rest my case.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I wish....

I wish Nutella made me lose weight.
I wish dogs lived forever.
I wish Mad Men was a reality show.
I wish clothes were tax deductible.
I wish the ocean was heated.
I wish for these....

What do you wish for?

Friday, November 12, 2010

A New Appreciation

I am so sorry I haven't written in what a month and a half, no excuse, just lazy but HI...I'm back!!

I never understood antiques. I never enjoyed the hunt and the thrill until college and then meeting Cary's mother and BOOM the antique bug hit and it hit hard. I LOVE them! I can't get enough! I love old jewlery, clothes, books and of course furniture. I would say my furniture taste is very eclectic....I like what I like! For instance, Cary and I have a platform bed nestled right beside an antique hot pink to come!

My mom-in-law saves everything. She moved a little over a year ago and had to purge and since Cary and I were the closest children, I got a lot of stuff, pink stuff to be specific! I received some beautiful depression glass which is my favorite of everthying she handed down.

My mother on the other hand was hoarding some pretty cool jewlery pieces that I snagged on our last trip home.

I have some pictures below of some of my finds (family freebies and store treasures) ENJOY!!!

This is a piece I found refinished (paid way too much for) at a local boutique in Raleigh. I LOVE IT!!

This Cary and I found at an amazing antique shop in Wake Forest. We got an amazing deal. It was a horrific orange when we purchased it but we covered that in a high gloss black......still looking for knobs!

Here are some peices my mom-in-law gave me....

Please stop in your local antique store, find a gorgeous piece and love it forever!!