Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Starry Night

So what did you all think of the Oscars last night? 

I was glued to my TV from 5:30 on to see all of the red carpet arrivals.  The theme of the show was old-time Hollywood and the stars didn't disappoint. 

There were so many beautiful gowns it was hard to pick just one as "my favorite".

If I were a star, what would I wear to the Academy Awards?  How would I choose?

These ladies have it tough (it must be awful! : )

My favorite trends were the lighter color dresses, like this one that Cameron Diaz wore.  I thought she looked amazing!

I also loved the gold Marchesa gown that Stacy Keibler wore.  The perks to dating George Clooney are never ending... : )

I thought Giuliana Rancic looked amazing as well.  Her hair and makeup was absolutely beautiful.  She had the most gorgeous lip color on.  It's hard to see in this photo, but it was stunning. A+

Aside from the whites and creams there were also splashes of color, like this dress that Michelle Williams wowed us in.  So pretty!

I also loved this 1950's vintage dress that Natalie Portman wore. 

But I think my most favorite of the night has to be this Tom Ford  gown that Gwyneth Paltrow wore.  I loved the look of the cape with the simplicity of the dress.  It was very elegant and perfect for the Oscars.  There was a definite wow factor when she came down the red carpet.  She was flawless. I loved it : )

Overall I thought the show was great!  I cried when Octavia Spencer gave her acceptance speech - so happy for her.  I know now that I MUST see the Artist.  (am I the only one who has not seen it yet?). 
I'm going to try to talk the hubbie into it this weekend.  I would also like to see Hugo.  Truthfully, I was not that interested before, but with all the sneak peeks during the show I am now dying to see it!

The magic of the movies is a beautiful thing.  Movies can transport us anywhere we want to go and into whomever we want to be.  They inspire us to dream.  Relateable characters remind us that we are not alone. They comfort us.  There is nothing like a good movie - one that gives us a laugh, or (even better) a good cry.  Movies we love remain in our hearts forever and sometimes spark memories or feelings of the time we saw them.  I remember the first movie my parents took me to, the first movie my husband and I saw together ( I still have the ticket stub) and the first movie I took my son to.  Movies can sometimes touch us so deeply we are inspired to make changes within ourselves.  And sometimes they make us feel so good we believe anything is possible.  And sometimes we just want to laugh.  And that's reason enough for me to go to the movies (or curl up on the couch and get one on Netflix : )

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Red Carpet Buzz

With all the Red Carpet buzz I can't help but be excited for the Oscars on Sunday night.  To me the Oscars are the epitome of Hollywood glamour. And it's all about who wore what on the red carpet, right ladies?

Here are some of my favorite dresses from years past...

I love the color of this dress.

Just gorgeous ~

Could her makeup be any more perfect?!  I love that lip color.  She's beautiful.

I love the color of this dress with her hair and also her jewelry was amazing.  It's what the Oscars is all about.

This look is to-die-for from top to bottom.  Fabulous!

My look for the evening won't be quite as glamours.  I'll be as comfy as can be in my moon and stars jammies, all curled up on the couch.  I'll make popcorn and settle in for the night.  I'm one of the crazies that always stays up and watches the whole show - even the boring parts.  At the Oscars, even boring can be glamours.  I love acceptance speeches and I'm sure the night will go by without me shedding a tear or two. 

I'm so looking forward to Billy Crystal the host too. He's hilarious!

It's going to be a great night~

Will you be watching? 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Little Bits of Happy

Hello Everyone! 

I want to begin this blog post with a congratulations to my mother for winning her first crazy quilt challenge.  The assignment was to create a "Valentine block" using the materials that were sent to her (along with whatever else she wanted to add) and create a valentine themed crazy quilt block.  She won the contest for Most Romantic.  Here's why...

In the center she scanned a picture of her and my father on their wedding day in 1960.

In the bottom left corner is sheet music (which she scanned on fabric) with the words "Life is a song and love it the music" written across it.   If you are not familiar with crazy quilting there is a lot of hand work involved.  It's all about creativity, embellishments, beading, and stitching.  My mother worked very hard on this block and I think it's the best one she's done so far.  Congratulations on a job well done : )

As you may have noticed, I like to add music to my blog posts.  I love all kinds of music, but I think my favorite genre is my parents generation.  They were the lucky ones. Looking at that picture I was thinking about my parents wedding and what they may have been listening to in 1960.  Here's one of my favorite songs....

When I was little I used to put a record player on the floor of my bedroom and play all of my parent's old 45's. It was the first music I knew.  I loved it then, and I still love it now. 

(On a side note - I always clean my house to 50's  and 60's rock and roll.  Turn the volume up and the housework gets done in no time!)

Today I wanted to share with you some little bits that are making me happy this week.  Aside from the mild weather and hint of spring in the air (and who doesn't love that?) I just started a Nicholas Sparks book called Best of Me.  (thanks to my kindle I'm reading like crazy these days).  So far I like it, but really, can anything be as good as the Notebook?  Big shoes to fill. I'll keep you posted. 

On Sunday morning I made myself the best breakfast.  An apricot smoothie and cranberry almond granola.  I made the smoothie in my Magic Bullet, but you can use any blender.  Just add 1 cup of canned apricots (drained), one cup of plain Greek yogurt, and 6 or 7 ice cubes.   I found myself a sunny spot on the deck and had a few minutes of happiness in the fresh, cool, February, air. 

Granola is expensive in the supermarkets so that's why I started making it myself.  It's better actually because you can add in anything you want, and you won't believe how easy it is to make.   For Cranberry Almond here is the recipe:

4 cups oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups honey
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl stir together oats, almonds, and cranberries. 

In a separate bowl mix together the oil, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Drizzle over dry ingredients and stir to coat evenly.

Spread mixture out in a thin layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. 

Bake 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to toast evenly.

Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  The granola will harden as it cools. 

This granola is also yummy with walnuts, dried fruits, or mini dark chocolate chips. Anything you like. 

Add to yogurt, salads, or even on ice cream.  I take a little container of it to work with me and snack on it when I get the 3:00 munchies.  It's better than hitting the vending machines : )

But the BEST way to have this I think, is as a hot cereal.  Add a little milk and microwave it for 30 seconds. 

Such a good way to start the day!

This week I found out that after 5 years I have been wearing the wrong foundation color.  I LOVE Bare Minerals and someday I will do a post devoted to that topic - and all makeup in general.  I always wore a certain shade until Monday, when a very nice sales girl and the shop I go to took a few minutes to sit with me and offer me some advice.  She was so friendly, not pushy at all, and very informative.  Turns out she used to work for the company (dream job!) and knows everything about the product.  Since I am very light skinned I always assumed that I was "Fair" but it turns out I am "Fairly Medium".  Who knew?  When I got it home and tried it, turns out she was right! I was so glad I listened and took her advice.  If you are questioning a foundation color don't be deceived by what the product looks like, because once it's on your skin it might look totally different.  Ask for help.  It's so worth it. 

My husband didn't understand why I was SO excited about this, but I knew you girls would : )

With the mild winter we have been having I'm itching for spring and summer even more.  Hubbie took a chance and put the snow blower back in the shed and he brought out my planters on the front stoop.

I've been mentally planning my flower patches and yesterday we saw the first sprigs of crocus peeping up through the dirt in the back yard.  The birds are singing about this and so am I.  We've also started talking about our summer vacation which has got me very excited.  Our little four year old will be graduating pre-school this year and that is definite cause for a celebration.  Especially since it's gone by in the blink of my eye....

I am so looking forward to this coming weekend.  Saturday night we are getting together with close friends for a pizza night and on Sunday we are going to a family brunch at my parents house.  I'm making oven baked french toast to go with my mother's menu which I will tell you about later. My cousin is coming with his twins so my little guy is going to be in for an adventure : )

What are your weekend plans?

As I write this blog post, early on Thursday morning, this is how I would like to perceive myself.  Sitting very casually in a french cafe, sipping a latte, gazing out the window - totally unimpressed that the Eiffel Tower is right behind me.  Ahhh...it would be nice.  In real life, it's not that picturesque - although I do hear the coffee pot brewing (music to my early morning ears), and the boys are still snoring.  I have time for a quick cup before the world wakes up, so that's what I'm going to do.

Before I sign off I would like to thank Gemma from http://musings-of-a-gem.blogspot.com/.  She is having a giveaway to celebrate her 200th posts.  Please visit her blog and etsy shop.  She's makes the most adorable things!  It's blogs like Gemma's that make me happy and feel connected to kindred spirits in the blog world : )

I'll be back soon with my french toast recipe and a new pasta dish that I know you will love.  I hope you all have a great day.  It's almost Friday!!!

Danielle xo

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day ~   I hope you are all wearing pink and having a lovely day.

Here are some of my favorite things about this Valentines Day....

* vintage valentines

I have a garland of these hanging on my china cabinet.  I love the vintage feel they give to the room.  (actually, I just like the word "vintage"... and the kids are cute too :  )

* bouquet of chocolate pops

I made these for my son's preschool party on Tuesday, but they looked so cute I had to put them on display for a day. 

* homemade sentiments of love...

are priceless.  I'll keep this forever. 

* Valentine cookies

A perfect way to spend a Sunday morning.

Baking in a warm kitchen while the cold air beats against the windows. 

Just me, a radio, and my daydreams.  Ahh, I could do this all day, every day.

* This song...

If my Valentines day had a song, this would be it.  Could be the most romantic song ever.  I entered a radio contest once where we had to submit our top three most romantic songs.  I named this one as my number 1.   Makes me swoon.  Thank you Mr. Cooke.

* feeling pretty... and while we are on the subject...

* gifts to myself

I did a little impromptu shopping this weekend and treated myself to a few new outfits.  I used the "it's Valentine's day" excuse.  Works for me. 

* and last but not least, Death by Chocolate Ooey Gooey Chocolate Pudding Cake!

This desert is for true chocoholics.  It's a cake that is crusty on the outside, but had gooey pudding in the middle.  You can eat it warm or cold.  Either way, it's decadent.   Here's how you make it.

Pudding Cake:

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For cake, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. 

Whisk in milk, butter, and vanilla.  Blend until smooth. 

Pour batter into an ungreased 9 inch square baking pan.  Use a spatula to evenly level the batter. 

For the topping, mix together sugars and cocoa.

Sprinkle evenly over batter.

Pour the hot water over the top.

*Resist the temptation to stir the batter*

Bake 30 minutes. 

You want the center to bubble and look almost set, like an undercooked brownie. 

If serving warm, let stand at least 15 minutes to allow the pudding to set.

I served mine cold with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. 

Good the next day too (for breakfast ; )

Just use that "it's Valentine's Day excuse again.  Milk is as long as you can.

I hope whatever the day brings you is happy and you are feeling the love. 

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller

Danielle xo