Wednesday, February 29, 2012

PSA: Google Friend Connect is being retired tomorrow

I am sure a lot of you have already heard about this, but just in case, I thought I would let you all know that Google Friend Connect (GFC) is being retired tomorrow, March 1st.

If you follow my blog through GFC, please take a moment to stay in touch by doing one or all of the following things:

Thank you all for reading, I don't want to lose touch with any of you!

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Poloroid Mac App

If you're like me, and you love your instagram app and want something similar for your home computer, there is now Instant. Instant is a Mac App that will make your pictures look like poloroids!

You can apply 8 different filters to your photos. There are 8 filters to mimic poloroid styles, and 20 other vintage-y filters. They also let you add writing (10 handwriting styled fonts to choose from) to the bottom part of the frame to complete the poloroid look. It's so fun!

(via)
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Monday, February 27, 2012

Snow Drawings

Happy Monday everyone! Did you all have a good weekend?

This lack of wintery weather has made me go in search of some snowy scenes to look at. This is how I found Snow Drawings by  Sonja Hinrichsen, who creates patterns in the snow and then has aerial photographs taken of them. They all look so amazing and intricate, like embroidery:



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Friday, February 24, 2012

Menus for the 2012 Oscar Nominees

Are you excited to watch the Oscars this weekend?

In celebration of the 2012 Academy Awards, epicurious has created some wonderful themed menus celebrating each Best Picture nominee: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, and War Horse. I love the idea of having a themed meal centered around a favorite film while watching the awards on Sunday night.

Gruyere and Parsley Omelets for Midnight in Paris

Chocolate Cream Pie for The Help
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

More Mad Men Collaborations

With the long awaited season premiere right around the corner (March 25!), news is popping up of new collaborations with inspiration rooted in Mad Men. I'm so excited for it all!

Firstly, Banana Republic has teamed up with Janie Bryant (the Emmy award winning costume designer behind Mad Men) again to release a second capsule collection due out on March 1st. This collection features a lighter and brighter palette with all the perfect pieces for Spring. I cannot wait to get my hands on it! (via)



This is my favorite piece from the collection that I have seen so far

And Estee Lauder has also announced they will be doing a Mad men inspired lipstick and creme rouge! I'm especially loving the red lipstick and the vintagey sleek gold packaging. The limited edition collection is set to be released on March 18 online at esteelauder.com and bloomingdales.com as well as in store at Bloomingdale's. You can also pre-order online now so you don't miss out. (via)


Are you all psyched for the Mad Men premiere next month? How do you feel about the collaborations?

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spaghetti Pie

This is such an easy weeknight dinner, it's so satisfying, and the leftovers are great too!

This is the basic recipe but is super customize-able with different veggies (like peppers or mushrooms), sauces, cheeses (I like a combo of mozzarella and cheddar), herbs (my favorites in this are basil, oregano and parsley) and meat (I typically use turkey or beef, but you could even use sliced italian sausage or soy crumbles).

Serve with garlic bread and a caesar salad for a perfect italian meal!

1/2 box of spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup cottage cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb ground meat of your choice
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz of your favorite tomato sauce
any herbs and seasonings you like for the sauce
3/4 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350

Cook spaghetti according to directions on package.

While the spaghetti is cooking, make the meat sauce. In a large skillet heat olive oil, brown meat and drain off fat. Add in the chopped onion and cook until just translucent then add in the garlic and sautee for a few minutes more. Pour in the jar of tomato sauce and whatever herbs and seasonings you like and let it simmer on the stove until it's needed. 

Drain (do not rinse) the spaghetti and put into large bowl (or just return it to the pot you cooked it in),  add the butter and stir until it is melted and distributed. Add in eggs and parmesan cheese. Pour the mixture into a greased pie dish, shape it so it looks a bit like a crust, with a well in the center.

Spread cottage cheese evenly in the well of the crust and then pour the meat sauce on top. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top and bake for about 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and just starts to brown (If you find it is browning too quickly, loosely cover the pie with a piece of foil).


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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"The Meal" Photography Project

This Friday, February 24th at 12 p.m. EST, people all over the world will take a picture of themselves and what they're eating (that is lunchtime here in Boston, breakfast in Seattle, dinner in Paris or a late night snack in Tokyo...). Then everyone will have these photos printed and mail them to Brooklyn for a display on April 5th called "The Meal. Documenting a Global Snack". Find out all the details here.


Not sure what time that will be in your zone? Click here for a converter.

I'm really looking forward to doing this. Will you be participating?

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Fun: Underwater Dogs

Seth Casteel of Little Friends Photo is a photographer out of Chicago and Los Angeles who specializes in lifestyle pet photography. He recently did a series of photos of dogs underwater, and the photos are truly fantastic (and hysterical, I can't get over their faces!):




this one is my personal favorite, I just love dachshunds!


Have a lovely weekend everyone! Do you have anything fun planned?

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Calzones

Another pizza dough recipe! This one has a very different flavor and texture due to the cornmeal inside of it instead of just on the bottom of the crust. I decided to switch it up and make calzones, I used sliced spicy sausage, tomato sauce and cheddar cheese inside.

Dough:
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 cup hot tap water
1/2 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons yeast

Put all ingredients in the bowl of your mixer with the dough hook attached, putting the salt in first and the yeast in last so they do not touch at first. Start with just a 1/2 cup of olive oil.

Start the mixer on low, as the ingredients come together you can drizzle in more olive oil as needed to make an elastic consistency. Turn the mixer to medium and let it go for about 5 minutes until the dough forms into a smooth ball. 

Remove the dough from mixer bowl, shape it into a ball and put into a lightly oiled bowl, turning the ball of dough to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for about 40 minutes or until doubled. While rising, mix together all your fillings ingredients.

Preheat oven (and pizza stone) to 425

Punch down dough and quarter it. Form each piece of dough into a circle, put calzone filling onto the circle, then fold over and seal the edges. Cut a few vents into the top and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. 

Notes: Calzones freeze extremely well, allow them to cool and then wrap them up and stick them in the freezer for a quick and easy meal. Let them thaw in the fridge and then bake at 300 until heated through.

This dough recipe also makes excellent pizza

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

doo.ri for Macy's

I have to say I'm really enjoying all the collaborations that different high end designers are doing with stores. There seems to be quite a few out this spring.

Today doo.ri for Macy's is making its debut. I have loved a lot of doo.ri dresses before but haven't taken the plunge and purchased one yet. I'm not blown away by a lot of the items in this collection (mostly because I know that many of the silhouettes won't work well for my body). This one is the only one really calling out to me, isn't it gorgeous? Love the contrasting belt with the bold black and white pattern.


Anything tempting you from this collection?

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Do you have any special plans or surprises in store for/with your Valentine today?


Here's a little roundup of some great Valentine ideas, tips, recipes, etc...

51 Last Minute Valentine's Day Ideas
Valentine's Day dining horror stories
Ten romantic restaurants in Boston
Secrets to a Good Marriage
10 Tips for the Sexiest Bedroom
Lauren Conrad's Best & Worst Dates
18 Ways to Enjoy Red Velvet
The Best Chocolates in America
5 Fun Ways to Share Your Love With Photos
Kate Spade e-Valentines

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine Cookies

I always like to bake something special for Greg for Valentine's Day. This year I did heart shaped cookies and had a blast decorating all of them.

The recipe I used is from Madeline at Food, Fitness and Family. She was one of the people I received cookies from in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and she sent a batch of truly wonderful sugar cookies. I knew I would have to try making them myself. You should too, they're amazing:

Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing (from here)

Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Icing
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons light Karo syrup
3/4 teaspoon clear vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. 

In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl (or stand mixer) beat the butter and sugar on low speed until well blended and then on high speed until fluffy.  Mix in your eggs and vanilla.  Slowly add your flour mixture and mix until just blended.

Divide dough into 4 equal parts.  Wrap in saran wrap.  Place in freezer for 10 minutes.

On a floured surface roll one piece of your dough to about a 1/4 inch thickness.  Using whatever cookie cutter you want cut out your cookies.  Place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, 1 inch apart.  I like to put the whole cookie sheet into the freezer for about 5 minutes.  I think it helps the cookies keep their shape more :)

Bake for about 13 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.  Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.  Repeat with remaining dough.

While cookies cool prepare your royal icing.  Using a mixer combine the powdered sugar, Karo syrup, water, and vanilla. You can keep adding water until you get your desired consistency.

Once cookies are completely cooled, decorate with icing and anything else you'd like to use (I went to town with red sugar and Valentine colored non-pareils)


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Friday, February 10, 2012

Runway to Win

In President Obama's online store there is a section called Runway to Win which features Obama 2012 merchandise created by some top designers. I'm really loving a lot of the designs, and they're all pretty affordable:

Richard Blanch nail polish set w/ bag $40


Georgina Chapman & Keren Craig (of Marchesa) tote $85


Marc Jacobs tee $45


Jack McCollough & Lazaro Hernandez (of Proenza Schouler) tee $45


Thakoon Panichgul scarf $95


Jason Wu tee $55

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls

Doctors at Tel Aviv University have released study results saying that having dessert for breakfast can actually help you lose weight! Your metabolism is the most active in the morning, so your cake/donut/cookies/etc will get burned off over the day. And the sweet breakfast helps to curbs your craving throughout the day. With this in mind, I bring you a perfect sweet breakfast to help keep the weight off!

The original recipe I based this off of is called "Clone of Cinnabon" while I don't think they are exact clones of Cinnabon, they're damn good, and the icing is extremely close to Cinnabon's. They would also taste excellent with pecans sprinkled over the cinnamon sugar layer before rolling up the dough, which I think I will try out next time.

Cinnamon Rolls (adapted from here)
Dough:
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg, room temp
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoon bread machine yeast

Filling:
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Icing:
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

Add dough ingredients to the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer and set to dough cycle. After cycle ends, turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Mix together cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl. Roll dough into a rectangle (measuring about 8" x 17"). Spread dough with softened butter and then evenly sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the butter. Press the sugar mixture into the dough by rolling over the dough a few more times with your rolling pin.

Roll up the dough tightly (roll from the long side of the rectangle) and trim uneven ends. Slice the dough into eight cinnamon rolls (each roll will be 2 inches tall). Place in a greased dish, cover and let rise until nearly doubled.

Preheat oven to 400. Bake rolls for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden on top.

While the rolls are in the oven, mix together the icing ingredients. Spread icing on warm rolls and enjoy!


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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Movie Themed Valentine Meals

Epicurious has created some really wonderful sounding Valentine's Day Menus based off of romantic films. I've seen all their selections except for The Notebook, I'm really not sure how I haven't seen that movie yet! I was really excited to see Chungking Express on the list, I had to watch it in a film class I took in college and absolutely loved it, but few people have heard of it.

The Notebook - A simple yet delicious crab boil

Chungking Express - Dishes inspired by Hong Kong street food. 

Lady and the Tramp - Italian food of course! 

Sixteen Candles - Upgraded comfort food ending with a yummy cake for dessert!

Do you have a favorite romantic movie? What type of food would you pair with it?

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentine's Gift Guide Part 3: For Anyone

We're officially one week out from Valentine's Day!

My Lip Stuff is homemade, all natural and vegan lip balm. There are 600+ different scents that it is available in, and every holiday Brea (the creator) comes up with fabulous themed scents and cute labels for her lip balms like Cuddlebug (marshmallow) and Main Squeeze (orange buttercream). They all smell seriously good! $3 each


Starbucks has a great assortment of seasonal drinkware, this winter they have this fantastic 12 ounce tumbler that shows a row of red hearts when filled with a hot beverage. $9.95


A Lovely Love Story is a tiny book about two dinosaurs who fall in love. I first heard it as a reading at a friend's wedding, it's such a sweet story and would make an adorable Valentine.$9.99


Shawnimals' handmade plush Pocket Huggy is the perfect little guy to give to the one you love. His arms are forever outstretched to hug you, and there's a cute little red heart on his back. $12


And let's not forget the sweets! Graeter's is luscious and super creamy ice cream made by their own traditional French Pot process. The best part about this wonderful Cincinnati native ice cream is that they are available to ship! Don't miss out on the Black Raspberry Chip or the Mint Chocolate Chip! Truly amazing ice cream.$60+ (depending on how many pints you're ordering and where they're being shipped to)


See more Valentine's Day gift ideas:
For Her

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Flower Decoder

Happy Monday everyone! I can't believe how quickly weekends go by. Boston is kind of glum this morning after the Patriots loss last night, what did you all think of the Superbowl/Halftime Show/Commercials?

I managed to do some damage online at target.com in the wee hours of Sunday morning and ordered basically everything I was lusting after and part of my order has already shipped! I hope Target comes through with this designer collaboration (still lamenting the absence of some Missoni items in my home). Did you get anything from the line, did you brave the stores? I want to hear all the stories!

Valentine's Day is next week, and there is heavy advertising for flower shops all over. Rue La La (an awesome sample sale site, if you're not a member yet, click here to join) has put together an awesome guide on their blog just in time for Valentine's Day about the message your flowers are sending to the recipient. I didn't realize some flowers had so much underlying meaning!

My absolute favorite flower is a red rose. I also love daffodils, I think they're just so happy looking! Do you have a favorite flower?


FOR THE GIRLS…

For: The Girl Next Door
Pluck this: White Daisy
What it says: “I think you’re innocent, loyal, and pure. And I could definitely bring you home to Mom and Dad.”
For: The Pal
Pluck this: Yellow Gerbera Daisy or Yellow Rose
What it says: “You’re fun to be around, but we are Just, with a capital J, friends.”
For: The Crush
Pluck this: Stargazer Lily
What it says: “Get a chance to get to know me, and you’ll see…”
For: The Flirt
Pluck this: Pink Rose
What it says: “You’re sweet, but I can see your games.”
For: The Siren
Pluck this: Red Tulip
What it says: “You’re completely irresistible.”
For: The Romantic
Pluck this: White Hydrangea
What it says: “You’re devoted, and so am I.”
For: The Soulmate
Pluck this: Purple Iris
What it says: “With these three petals, symbolizing faith, wisdom, and valor, I’m here for you forever.”
For: The True Love
Pluck this: Red Rose
What it says: “I’m serious about you (and us).”

FOR THE BOYS…

For: The Guy’s Guy
Pluck this: Fuji Mum or Blue Orchid
What it says: “You’re lively, fun, and easy to be around.”
For: The Party Boy
Pluck this: Orange Gerbera Daisy
What it says: “I like to have a good time – and you’re the first one I call to start the party!”
For: The Bad Boy
Pluck this: Orange Lily
What it says: “I’m not sure where this is going, but you have my attention.”
For: The Strong, Silent Type
Pluck this: Ginger
What it says: “You’re individualistic and strong, and I just can’t get enough.”
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Friday, February 3, 2012

Superbowl Sunday


This weekend is Superbowl Sunday (also, it's the same day that Jason Wu's Target collection is being released...I'm more excited for that). I live in Patriot territory, so I am surrounded by really excited fans. I'm not a huge football fan, there's too much stop and go for me and I get bored while they're just standing around (which is more than 50% of the time, I really just don't understand it).

I view the Superbowl as a time to eat junk and hangout. This past week the internet has been supplying many delicious (and cheese laden!) recipes.

I'm currently dreaming of...

Avocado, Cream Cheese and Salsa Puff Pastries from Love Veggies & Yoga
Bloomin' Onion Bread from The Changeable Table
Blue Moon Cupcakes by Sweet Tooth
Buffalo Chicken Stromboli from Delicious Dishings
Chile Peanuts from Gourmet
First Down Dip by Recipe Girl
Glazed Kielbasa from The Runaway Spoon
Ham and Cheese Sliders from The Girl Who Ate Everything
Loaded Baked Potato Dip by Brown Eyed Baker

Will you be watching the Superbowl? Giants or Pats? What's your favorite sports snack?

Are you picking up anything from the Jason Wu collection?

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day!

In Gobbler's Knob, Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow, thus declaring 6 more weeks of winter. Though with the fact that we have only had one snowfall in Boston and temperatures have been averaging in the 40s and 50s, 6 more weeks of winter doesn't sound all that terrible.


Will you all be watching the Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day today in celebration?

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Valentine's Gift Guide Part 2: For Him

Old Navy is a great source for seasonally themed boxers for your favorite dude. Indulge him in these heart patterned boxers $8.50


Most guys wouldn't get too excited about getting a bouquet of flowers for Valentine's Day. But what if it's a bouquet of video game inspired 8-bit flowers? They don't need watering or care, and will be enjoyed by any geek! $14.99


Let's be honest, it's really not Valentine's Day without some chocolate. This year, get something a little different like one of these giant chocolate dipped fortune cookies with are handmade to order in New Hampshire (you can choose the type of chocolate you'd like and then add all sorts of different toppings). You can even write your own fortune to go inside! $19.95


Tell him that he's hot stuff with a subscription to the hot sauce of the month club. Each month he'll get two different bottles of fiery hot sauce. $56.85-$207.40 (depending on how many months)


This Jack Spade dough money clip is classy but still has a sense of humor, other varieties available: bacon or bones $65


See more Valentine's Day gift ideas:
For Her
For Anyone
Unique Cards

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