Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Best Red Carpet Commentary

During awards season, everyone and their mother is a "fashion expert." But sometimes the very best, spot-on commentary comes from the poor guy on the couch next to you, who's stuck watching three hours of red carpet festivities against his will. If your viewing partner is anything like my husband ... his comments range from asking the obvious ("When was the last time she ate?") to sheer bewilderment ("Is she wearing a bed sheet?"). He also had a real problem with Kelly Osbourne's E! coverage. "How can she be the one critiquing everyone when her hair is grey?" Anna Faris' arrival was the beginning of the end for him. All he could say in response to her dress/bangs combo was, "Oh, god." He had enough.

You'd think because he was such a good sport for the Oscars, I'd hand over the remote control last night. But The Bachelor was on ... and it was the final three! I married a real gem, folks.

And of course, Parenthood is on tonight. I hope he can handle Crosby's wedding ... and all of the crying I'll do throughout Crosby's wedding. 

I have a strange feeling after this week, there's going to be a lot of MSNBC, CSPAN and basketball in my future. 

What shows do you politely force your hubby to watch?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Bachelor: Crying and Cocktails

If you’ve ever watched a season of ABC’s The Bachelor, you know you can always count on the following:
  • Crying. It’s not The Bachelor without running mascara and unintelligible love-declaring sob-snorts for a man that’s dating lots of other women.
  • Tons of alcohol. We have yet to see anyone eat, but these ladies are never without a triple chardonnay.
  • Women overcoming their fears – primarily heights, deadly sea life and/or salsa dancing.
  • “The most dramatic rose ceremony ever.” Chris Harrison has the best job in the world. All he has to do is memorize three lines and put on a suit.
  • Hot tubs. Duh.
  • A predictable cast of characters including, The Good Girl, The Vixen, and The Hot Mess.
Season 16, featuring winemaker Ben Flajnik, has certainly delivered all of the above. Between the cattiness and painfully awkward moments, I spend entire episodes cringing, sometimes even covering my eyes, and feeling really bad for the women. They’re adults going on “group dates”, skiing in bikinis, and spearing live lobsters for dinner … all to literally “win” a guy they barely even know. Finding love shouldn’t make women act this ridiculous, right? But, it’s hard to turn away from a reality TV train wreck. And we just can’t seem to get enough of this cultural phenomenon … or the key players:

The Good Girl
Although cute 24-year-old Kacie B. recently started cursing while under the influence, she reigned supreme as The Good Girl. The sweet administrative assistant from Tennessee scored the first one-on-one date of the season, impressing Ben with her baton twirling skills (yes, really) as they walked the streets of Sonoma. She even declared she’d move anywhere for a man, because that’s how she was raised in the South. Aw, shucks. Let’s just say a second bout of baton twirling was the beginning of the end for her…

The Vixen 
This season’s beautiful, pouty, mean girl is Courtney, a 28-year-old model from California. She enjoys quoting Charlie Sheen (#winning!) and pretending to shoot the other girls with her finger guns. (You can watch a musical autotune mash-up of her most offensive lines here.) Despite her unusual social skills, she’s made Ben all googly-eyed by luring him into the water for a secret skinny dipping session in Puerto Rico and letting a gigantic tarantula crawl up her arm in Belize. Well, she seems like someone to bring home to mom!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Grandma's Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

There's something about a long weekend that just makes me feel like baking. So, when we were invited to our friend's place for brunch, I decided to make my Grandma Flossie's famous coffee cake for the occasion. I love any excuse to have dessert for breakfast, don't you?

Cinnamon, sugar, chocolate chips ... sold!
It's always a little nerve-wrecking to try a new recipe, especially the morning you're bringing it to someone's house. Luckily, Flos was available to coach me through a few things (okay, fine ... everything) over the phone. I'm so glad she couldn't see that my entire kitchen was covered in a layer of flour.

Here's the recipe:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Heart Day

Happy Valentine's Day to you and your "gravy".

created by Seltzer Goods

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Will You Be My Valentine?

It's time to upgrade from those cheesy e-cards ... because asking someone to be your Valentine is a lot more fun this year. Here are a few creative ways to spread the love.

Who can forget the emotional double rainbow sighting one man shared with the world on YouTube? ("What does this mean?") Send this card to the person that brings you that double rainbow kind of happiness.

Instagram fan? You'll heart Lovestagram, an interactive Valentine’s day card featuring Instagram pics of you and your love. As a surprise for her boyfriend (Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger) Kaitlyn Trigger secretly created this sweet app. Digital geeks will appreciate the story of how she learned code.

If you're really going for the wow factor, you could make a video for your special someone, like this:

Field Notes: Red Blooded from Coudal Partners on Vimeo. This video was actually produced by a notebook company. I will enjoy this kind of product placement any day (really, it's adorable!).

Lastly, if you are really serious about your Valentine, you could enter Pizza Hut's $10 Big Dinner Box Proposal. Ten lucky pizza lovers will be selected to spend $10,010 (plus tax!) of their own money on a night of unprecedented romance planned by the chain restaurant. Proposal package includes a red ruby ring, limo, flowers, a fireworks show, a photographer and videographer and a $10 dinner box.

There's just something not right about dropping 10K for Pizza Hut to plan your engagement.

What have you seen online that's a great way to say Be Mine?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bad Valentine's Day Gifts

Many moons ago, there was a Valentine's Day that I was absolutely certain would be the day my boyfriend and I got engaged. When it was time to exchange gifts, he handed me a small plastic bag from the Apple Store. I admired his creativity for trying to throw me off by putting the engagement ring in there. I slowly reached inside with my perfectly manicured engagement-ready nails and pulled out a small box. This was it. It was really happening.

But it wasn't a ring box. It was in fact, an iPod nano. A pink one. My heart sank. I tried to look happy and appreciative, but the last thing I wanted was music storage.

Several months later, he popped the question in a much better way than via plastic Apple bag. And the nano ended up being a great gift that I still use everyday. Point is, when it comes to Valentine's Day gifts, you need to know your audience. If they think they're getting engaged but you have other plans, don't give them anything in a small box. 

Here are some other gifts in which one should proceed with caution:  

The Love is Art Kit: According to their website, it's "everything you need to safely make an abstract painting while being intimate with the one you love." Need I say more, other than eeeew. My work friend's friend actually bought this for her boyfriend.

A Wine Monkey: Great hostess gift ... V-day, not so much. If a significant other gives you this (and only this), you're getting dumped soon and will need a wine monkey. Womp. Womp.

A Stuffed Animal: This means he forgot about V-day and went to the Hallmark store next door to his office during lunch. Hopefully he had the good sense not to buy you one of those creepy musical snow-globes too.
What's the worst Valentine's Day gift you've ever received?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Entertaining Idea: Chalkboard Menu

Yesterday was cold and rainy - the kind of day to curl up on the couch in over-sized sheep patterned, flannel pajamas, peruse Pinterest, and then make Superbowl chili. We had dinner plans at our friends' house later in the evening, and I was so looking forward to a cozy Saturday night in, enjoying good company and a home-cooked meal.

When we arrived for dinner, I immediately noticed this vintage style chalkboard on the wall, displaying the evening's menu. I especially loved how the hostess structured the meal in Italian courses: antipasto, primo, secondo and dolce (all of which were amazing).

My friend bought her chalkboard from a vendor at D.C.'s Eastern Market. But if you search "vintage chalkboard" or "kitchen chalkboard" on Etsy, you'll find tons of options. If you're a DIY girl, pair a cool frame with a piece of frameless chalkboard.

FYI - potato mushroom gratin is the most wonderful thing in the world. Here is a recipe from Smitten Kitchen that sounds delish.