Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Road Warrior" Workout

Only six months in and I despise the term "Road Warrior" already.  What is that?  That implies those of us that frequent the skies/freeways are fighting some kind of magical battle with the travel Gods.  Which actually, may be kind of true...  Upon Googling, I found out there is an entire underworld of blogs and forums devoted to the topic.  There's even a website devoted to those of us who live out of a 22" x 14" x 9" closet and can happily exist for days, if not weeks, with only that and a good Platinum Lounge.  

I have no right to gripe as I don't currently have to fly.  I can pack an entire bottle of contact solution right next to my pair of sharpened scissors without a care in the world.  I can even purchase a bottle of wine and bring home the remnants (remnants... silly concept) at the end of the week.  Anyone have leftovers?  Send them home with me!  No big deal Officer, I'm just smuggling half of Birmingham's best restaurants across state lines...

Which brings me to the real issue, which is the consumption of obscene quantities of undeniably delicious fare from distant lands.  Three times a day.  There are only so many lunch options within walking distance, and only so many driveable locations worth visiting.  And when you have the entire menu staring at you, it's just plain impossible to order a side-salad-add-chicken and smile through kale-coated teeth at the would-be heavenly treats at Gianmarco's or Chez Fonfon.  [Sidenote: behind Gianmarco's is their Wine Bar.  Retail wine prices with a corkage fee, and the full GM menu in a cutesy little shack where you eat around wine barrels.  Fabulous.]

So, jumping jacks and I have started a little romantic tryst.  I apologize each morning to my downstairs neighbors as I hop around in pajamas doing my routine.  Jumping jacks, crunches, push ups, the whole nine yards.  These are the best routines I've found, which I switch up and mess around with (read: unabashedly cheat) while trying to work off my jiggles in an effort to make caloric room for the absolute best thing in town, the elote asada at @elbarriobham (my fiance refers to it only as "the corn place" because I talk about it so much).  Mmmmm chipotle-cilantro-mayo drenched corn yummies...

Thursday blows most.
Source: Back on Pointe
This is me.  Ha!
Lower Ab Dominator - pulse ups, reverse crunches and V-sits, oh my!
Source: UberExercise

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bar Cart Obsession

Recently I’ve become obsessed with having a gold bar cart in my house.  I don’t even really have a place to put a gold bar cart, but that’s beside the point.  When I get obsessed with something I typically research like crazy, beg and justify with the fiancé, and will eventually cave and buy whichever was the first one I saw anyway.

This has held true for jewelry, cars, even my puppy’s rare breed (Glen of Imaal Terrier)… pretty much everything even remotely feasible – I know what I like immediately and I just have to have it.

I haven’t found “the” bar cart yet though, so I am still in the market!  I plan on going hunting at some of the many antique stores near my house I have yet to explore.  Every thrift/antique experience I’ve had so far ends up with a car full of a bunch of inexpensive crap I turn around and re-donate within a year.  Last time I ended up with 10 records that I thought looked cool – things like Pink Floyd and the Grease Soundtrack.  A steal at $0.25 each!  Until I re-gifted them to Goodwill less than a month later – what the hell did I plan to do with those things, anyway?  Remember Laser Disks?  I don’t think I could even tell the difference between the two, given the chance.  My parents have a bunch of those enormous DVDs still, I believe, including classics like Aladdin and True Lies…  Nothing says suspense like having to flip a disk mid-way through a Schwarzenegger scene!

Here are some things I just NEED on my booze laden cart of gold (preferably gold bamboo):
Society Socials' Hayworth (front runner!)
Vintage number from Etsy

Love this from Luvocracy

Hendrick's is the best gin ever!
St. Germain Elderflower liqueur for something sweet and floral
Delicious bubbly!  And so pretty!


Cute little guy from Dwell Studio!

I may settle for this python tray in the meantime... really similar to the Target-Neiman collection Altuzarra tray, but I need brown!

I went on the St. Germain website (amazingly pretty), where they have a link to submit a request for them to make you a signature cocktail for your wedding - I just emailed them with some info about the theme and feel of my reception ( and got a response in an hour with this great recipe and response "Considering your love of gin and bubbles, I'd propose the cocktail below!"

Rachel's Cocktail
1 1/2 part gin
3/4 parts St-Germain
1/2 part lemon
3 parts sparkling wine
Method: Mix gin, St-Germain and lemon in a fluted glass and then top with chilled Sparkling wine.

How fun is that??  Looks a lot like their Nomayo cocktail, minus the aperol bitters!  How chic!

St. Germain Nomayo Cocktail

Monday, December 17, 2012

6lb Lamb Roast for 2

The Meat Fairy arrived last week while I was out of town for work! Similar to Santa in many ways, the Meat Fairy hails from a distant land (Omaha) and brings delicious packages of goodness to good little carnivores everywhere. Wrapped in bacon bows or stuffed to the brim with heavenly crab, the fiancé tore voraciously into his expansive yummables without abandon. He shoved them into every nook he could find in the freezer, apparently at the expense of one very stout lamb roast my parents bestowed upon us a while ago.

When I got home from the work trip and went foraging in the fridge for my adult bevy I was greeted by a hunk of meat twice the size of my face mid-thaw. Were we expecting company? No. Was this for next weekend's dinner party I'm hosting for the future in-laws? No. (Something about Bo Peep and a conscience...) Nothing weird, just your standard 6 pounds of mini-sheep for Sunday dinner for two.

So I whipped up a super simple prep for the beast and fresh green beans. Opted to double down on the lamb instead of a starch (meat sweats > carbo load)

Boneless Lamb Leg Roast with Green Beans

5-6 lb boneless lamb leg
Minced poultry herb mix, 3 Tbs each: rosemary, sage, thyme
1 head of garlic (8-10 cloves) minced
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper

Trim lamb of any excess fat and lay flat
Liberally apply salt on both sides
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1-2 hours to remove gaminess (if desired)
Rinse off salt

Whisk together herbs, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper while slowing adding olive oil.

Liberally rub mixture on both sides of roast.

Fold roast up and secure with kitchen twine.

Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for at least 4 hours (up to overnight)

Heat oven to 400
Place roast on roasting pan on highest rack in the oven
Cook for 30 min
Lower oven temp to 350
Cook 1 hour (internal temp 150) for medium-rare
Let rest 10-15 minutes

Garlicky Lemon Green Beans

1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper

Blanch green beans and set aside
Melt butter over medium heat
Sauté garlic until beginning to brown (1 min)
Add in green beans and toss to coat
Add lemon juice, season to taste and continue to toss until heated through

Optional Sauce

Slowly add equal parts chicken stock and red wine to pan drippings, over medium heat to deglaze pan.

Pair with a big glass of wine and enjoy lamb sammies for a month!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Very Merry Corporate Christmas

Amid some hectic travel plans and a sick me and Big P we managed to go out and get our first tree and decorate a bit for the holidays. I grew up as a Cashew (Catholic-Jew) and celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas in my early years - while I can still rock out some random Yiddish words regarding important things like my lovely mensch, and although I have a carefully crafted menorah on my chalkboard pantry door, I clearly have bastardized any real meaning of the holiday.  I blame a rather embarrassing incident where one of my acrylic nails burst into flame in high school while I was attempting to light the menorah and sing some words I couldn't pronounce to an ex boyfriend...  I've managed to overcome my tragic decision and opt out of acrylic talons for life.

Regardless of any actual religious merit, future kiddies can still expect some dreidels and gelt, because that plastic flavored chocolate is just delicious.  'Merica!
Full steam ahead for the zaftig Old Saint Nick!
(See what I did there?)

So here we are chopping down the finest tree in the forest (per Lowe's) and trimming some random bits of home with the luxuries of the land (per Target) and warmth of the season (per Duralog).

Finnley's bf Mashi keeping her warm by the faux-fire (with crackle sound effects!)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Snowpocalypse and the Kitchen Sink Eggs

This recent cold snap has me thinking back to the "Great Snowpocalypse of 2011" where Atlanta shut down for a week due to 1.5" of snow and ice.  Seriously.  The kind of city embarrassment where our only 2 snow plows literally had a head on collision on a 6-lane-each-way highway and were both out of commission.

I had holed myself up at the bf's in Buckhead waiting for an impending day off work and did what Atlanta 20-somethings do best in a time of crisis: drank our faces off at the bars along Drunk Alley (Red Door, Pool Hall, etc.)  

Sure enough, the next morning brought white glistening snow and no work!  The streets were covered in ice, causing pile-ups and wrecks in every direction.  So Buckhead buckled down.  For a day.  By day 2 the novelty had worn off and we got adventurous.  One restaurant down the street had lights on so out we went.
More bars started to open slowly throughout the day and more people ventured out, drawn to the lights like a drunk to the bars... Exactly like that.  Many of us were rocking the same outfits from 4 days earlier (slouchy boots seemed like a good idea to me at the time):

By day 5 the hangover was too much.  No more cleverly named Snow Bombs and take out Dominos Pizza.  We needed to dry out.  So we dug in the refrigerator and pulled out everything we had.

Baked Eggs
Anything choppable and tasty (ours included: tomatoes, truffle paste, spicy Freetos, figs, prosciutto - you know, end of the world food)
Ramekins (or be ghetto like us and use anything that can go in the oven)

Preheat oven to 350

Place carefully selected delicious ingredients in the bottom of each ramekin
Salt & pepper to taste (but don't actually taste... it's more "to sight")
1/2 tsp butter on top
Break an egg into the ramekin
Season with more salt & pepper
Drizzle with cream

Bake 10-15 minutes on a baking sheet


Obviously ours was a competition for the most delicious, and obviously mine won. 

Here is my classy fiance, ear candling out the stir crazies of the Snowpocalypse:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DIY: Matte Art

I have a neutral problem.

My entire living room is becoming one big neutral bomb of sand tones and beige-y glory.  Besides my big blue carpet that poos blue carpet fuzzies throughout the entire house that is...

Little Boo on the blue poo carpet
(Miss Piggy was an unrelated casualty)

A recent taupe and tan addition is a set of 9 panels I purchased from Beyond the Rack on a whim.  I knew it looked like a clock, but I didn't even bother with the description long enough to realize I was actually gettingggg a clock.  Neutral?  Will be lovely in my living room!  Purchase!  

It arrived looking about as glossy and cheap as can be expected for the $80 or so purchase price, so I doctored it up with some spray paint Frosting:

Valspar Frosting spray paint ($6)
Nail polish remover for frame edges caught in the cross fire ($2?)

Middle row has been un-sprayed - gross.

Finished product!
[Check out the wainscoting we did here]

Holiday Party Fashion

This morning I woke up, one eye open to the impending Birmingham chill and daily work out debate.  I diligently checked my Pinterest crew's faux-creative discoveries, the daily whining world of Facebook and the comedic musings of my Tweeter peeps.  And then!  My baby blog!  Aladdin pops in my head - a whole new worlddddd!  Still up, still shiny and new!  

Email is up next.  Immediate drama.  AdSense has denied me.  2 days old and already getting bullied on the playground.  Shameful.  As it turns out, Google is unimpressed that my traffic consists of 3 hits from spam sites... And 14 by me.  Fiancé is in trouble.

By now I have successfully occupied myself beyond my allotted workout window (a never-ending struggle - to jumping jack, or not to jumping jack...)  Then it's off to work, but not before drooling over some new holiday wishlist items, in time for the company Xmas party at the Fox??

BCBG Daphine

BCBG Prish

Henri Bendel Bangle - 25% with Free Shipping!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

DIY: Wainscoting

I had no idea what the hell a miter saw was, nor did I care... and then Pinterest happened. 

In the weeks leading up to the closing on the house I spent hours, and I mean the hours from 1-4am, regularly planning, Pinning and detailing things that were absolutely non-negotiable to install in our new abode.  

Between the seriously fabulous:

and the even more obviously necessary:

I begged for something slightly feasible and managed to pressure Big Boo into agreeing!  Farmhouse chic, yet full of the straight lines and clean aesthetic I'm crazy for.  And, best yet, I could spin it into increasing my fiance's wood-working tool collection.  Ahhhh, wainscoting.  Scotting, skohting, who cares, but it's lovely and a WAY bigger pain in the ass than it appears.  But it was worth it.  Just glad it was our first project, because my other half was still on board with the whole "nesting" phenomenon... in the beginning.

Here we go, pre-wainscot:

Big Boo and the chair rail:

In go the mini rail squares:

Add some funky sizing issues:

Then some Benjamin Moore "Sticks and Stones" above the chair rail, and some white super gloss below and WHAMMY, chicified!  Check her out:

Now we have a miter saw, a million tubes of excess caulk, and some awesome walls in the living room! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

New Home to Chicify!

Earlier this year, my fiance and I traded in the 1/2 block to the bars for a halfway-to-the-burbs first home - brand new, terrifyingly empty with monotonous walls and not a bit of inspiration to point me in the right direction.  Bam!  House!

The fiance was not actually a fiance yet when we put an offer in on this bad boy, but wise papa Ray stepped in:
"Son, maybe we should discuss a ring before we discuss this house."
He already had the ring and two weekends and a Sunday morning pantsless proposal later, we had not only a house to plan, but a wedding too!  Add to it a brand new, travel-heavy job in the same month and we've got the making for some serious planning, organizing and life changing to do!

As with any red blooded female, I've gotten more than my fair share of Pinterest, Tumblr and blog stalking under my belt.  I've attempted to recreate the fabulous, the thrifty and the frequently ridiculous in my own life through food, fashion, decor and disaster.  Countless sleepless nights making lists, pinning ideas and planning life makeovers have led me to want to share some of my fortunes and, more often, misfortunes with my pleading audience.  (Plead on, masses!)

Plus there's the Rachel Ray thing.

Come July, I will be adopting a name synonymous with 30 minute masterpieces and clever household tricks and techniques - things my body is as adept at as say, the Nutcracker ballet.  At least I have some good restaurant reservations to look forward to...