Wednesday, February 29, 2012

{Wine Wednesday} Becker Vineyards 2009 Claret

A couple of month’s ago I attended one of my closest friends’ bachelorette party (details coming in a later post) but part of the weekend included a tour of some of the Texas Hill Country wineries including our first (and in my opinion, the best) stop at Becker Vineyards. While there I tasted many of their wines and bought bottles of some of my favorites. Well this evening I came home and opened a bottle of their 2009 Claret and my oh my, it is so delicious! Their Claret wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (35%), Petite Verdot (24%), Cabernet Franc (23%) Merlot (13%) and Malbec (5%) and is matured in French and American oak barrels for 15 months. It has essences of raspberries, chocolate and spices and is great when paired with lamb, burgers (mmm) pheasant or quail. 


Recipe: Garlic Parmesan Knots

I’m a huge fan of pinterest. I get all sorts of ideas from there and last night I finally decided to try one of the many recipes I drool over on the site. I made garlic parmesan knots and they were amazing! Here’s a step by step super easy and delicious recipe for you to try out! I paired my knots with pesto tortellini and a side salad. 

Ingredients for your knots:
  • 1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits 
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
Roll out biscuits into 12 inch ropes and tie in knots
Place knots on greased cooking sheet 2 inches apart from each other
Mix ingredients into a bowl 

Brush knots with the mixture
Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and viola!
Nom! Nom! Nom!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest Bedroom Update

Well our house finally feels back to normal after some redecorating and major refinishing including new floors, wall colors, and all-over updates.  Remember how I had griped about our guest bedroom and how unwelcoming and frumpy it was?  Well, it's finally 'getting there.'  Enjoy the pictures!


Here are a couple of 'before' shots:

And where we are now:

A repainted dresser I found on Craigslist

Bedding: overstock. com Damask set, Horchow  ivory skirt, euro shams and throw pillows, ivory quilt and shams from HomeGoods

Finishing touches:  They are coming!

My parents bought us this print on their trip to Italy.  We'd like to have it framed and placed over the bed; side table:; drawer pulls for dresser:

Monday, February 27, 2012

{We're Obsessed} Oscar Fashion

Last night was the 84th Annual Academy Awards aka the Super Bowl of fashion and the stars did not disappoint. We voted, the ballots are in and here are our picks for the looks we’re obsessed with.

The unanimous best dressed award goes to one of our favorite ladies and ultimate girl crush, Gwyneth Paltrow. She looked stunning in this Tom Ford caped gown. Truly, a vision in white!

Ana’s runner up is MIlla Jovovich. She looked stunning in Ellie Saab and brought out some of the old Hollywood classic glamour. The dress, the hair, the makeup, the jewels, the bag---it was all perfection!

Cristi’s runner up is Bridesmaids’ Rose Byrne in Vivienne Westwood. The sequined detailed gown showed off Rose’s tall and slender figure amazingly. Paired with her banged bob and flawless makeup, she looked stunning. My only critique would be her shows. Wouldn’t have gone for the platform peep toes, butttt that’s just me. Otherwise, she hit it out of the park!

P.S. Does anyone else think Rose Byrne has a striking resemblance to New York socialite Olivia Palmero? Like, they could be twins, no?

Jackie’s runner up is Oscar newcomer and another Bridesmaids costar, Kristen Wiig. This was her first time to attend the Oscars and she looked gorgeous. He nude colored J Mendel gown, beachy locks and natural makeup made her one of our picks for best dressed. The Judith Leiber clutch and Neil Lane gems didn’t hurt either. 

So what do y’all think? Who were your favorites? 

Photo: Gwyneth, Milla, Rose & Kristen
Ana, Jackie & Cristi

Friday, February 24, 2012

San Angelo Wrap Up

Remember how I told you I was heading out west to the San Angelo Rodeo with my girlfriends for the weekend? Well, it was an absolute blast and I wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures from the weekend! We had an absolutely amazing time and definitely took San Angelo by storm. Love my friends!

Can’t wait to see what this weekend will bring! 


Thursday, February 23, 2012

{Thrifty Thursday} Glitter Loafers

I’ve been eyeing a pair of snazzy, fancy loafers to sport with shorts and crop pants this summer, I love the look which is similar to the oxford look I posted about last week. I absolutely love these Jimmy Choo Glitter Coated Leather Loafers, but once again—they’re out of my price range. And I have a rule of thumb that when I consider something to be trendy and not a staple of my wardrobe, I don’t like to spend more than $75. So once again I set out on the World Wide Web to find myself a more affordable option and found some almost identical loafers from Aldo and Anthropologie. Success! 



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

{Wine Wednesday} The Show Cabernet Sauvignon

Remember how I told you I was going to San Angelo for the rodeo? Well while there my friend Da’s parents hosted a pre-rodeo cocktail party and they served the most delicious red wine. And shockingly, it was one I had never tasted before! The Show Cabernet Sauvignon is from the Three Thieves—three men Joel Gott, Charles Bieler and Roger Scommegna, (you know we love things that come in threes) who call themselves the Robin Hoods of wine because they’ve been “robbing” vineyards of high-end varietals and making their “steals” available to all. They’re committed to finding phenomenal wines that they can sell at absurdly low prices. And the best part? They’ve all got unique personalities that make them the perfect blend of maverick entrepreneurs. And I absolutely love their wine should be shared by all philosophy because this girl loves a good bargain. So sit back and enjoy The Show!

P.S. If you want to check out more about the Three Thieves or their other varieties of wines they have a new show on the Cooking Channel

Photo: The Show Cabernet Sauvignon


[Almost] Just like Italy Pasta

Z and I had the opportunity to travel Italy a year ago for what was a most memorable and fascinating trip for both of us.  Since we'd both been to Italy before, but not together, we made this a wine and culinary trip and hired a former Michelin star restaurateur to take us through Tuscany and show us her secrets.  One secret was a tiny family owned restaurant in Greve in Chianti where I had a wild boar pasta that I will always remember as the best pasta I've ever had. 

Needless to say, after that trip I've tried to recreate many a pasta dish in our own kitchen.  We've settled on two recipes that we love [almost] just as much as our Italy trip.  Today's recipe is very simple whereas the second pasta recipe takes eight hours to cook in the slow cooker.  This Italian Sausage Linguine will be popular at your dinner table and satisfy your craving for authentic Italian pasta.


2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup white wine
1 pound mild (or hot) ground Italian sausage
1 green pepper, sliced
½ onion, sliced
1 pound cooked linguine
shredded parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish

1) Cook linguine according to package instructions
2)  Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add 2 cloves minced garlic.  Cook, about 1 minute in oil.  Add green pepper and sliced onion.  Cook 3 minutes, or until they begin to soften.  Add sausage.  Cook until lightly browned.

2) In a food processor, add  tomatoes, paste, 4 tbsp parsley, 1 clove minced garlic, dried oregano, salt, black pepper, 6 tbsp olive oil, diced onion, white wine.  Puree.  

3) Slowly pour sauce into skillet with sausage and vegetables.  Let cook about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to simmer, about 10 minutes.   

4) Add cooked pasta to sausage sauce.  

All photos: my own



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler

Let the good times roll! Happy Mardi Gras, y’all! Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods (yum!) before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins tomorrow on Ash Wednesday. As you know, through the years it’s taken on a bigger meaning and is associated with so many carnival festivities like wearing masks, parades, costumes, dancing, etc. I will definitely be out celebrating and masquerading tonight with my friends. Can’t wait!


Monday, February 20, 2012

{We’re Obsessed} Tribal Print

After this year’s Fashion Week I think it’s safe to say prints are here to stay. And that couldn’t make me happier since I’m currently obsessed with the tribal print trend. I know going the full tribal print maxi can be a bit intimidating for you dressers that like to tone it down but that shouldn’t stop you from incorporating some tribal print into your accessories. Check out the tribal rucksack and those tribal bracelets. Also, you can take some tribal print shorts or skirt and pair it with a neutral top to still get some print on you, but not go full out. As for me, I’ll take it all! What do y’all think? Love it or hate it? 


Friday, February 17, 2012

{Good Grapes Destination} Kickin Up My Boots in San Angelo

I’m not typically one to complain but this week was just too rough not to complain. First, I was inundated with an absurd amount of work all with tight deadlines at the office and just couldn’t find the motivation to do it. When you’re a writer—suffering from writer’s block is basically equivalent to being a surgeon with shaky hands. You can’t get anything done and find yourself staring at the monitor or, as in my case, a blank piece of paper (side note, I’ll take a pen and paper to a keyboard any day) for hours and realize you just wasted the whole work day and got nothing done. After meeting with my boss and telling him I was experiencing some wicked writer’s block he suggested I write a letter to someone who I had a lot to say to to get my writing juices flowing. Naturally I thought of my on-off-on-off again [ex] beau sooo I got to writing. WELL dear boss, this only resurfaced a whole heap of emotions that led to a sleepless night and even more distractions in my head. Thanks for that advice. NOT. Then to top it all off I spent Tuesday and Wednesday home sick with a kidney infection from h-e-double hockey sticks that basically made me bed ridden with such awful abdominal and back pain. And for those of you reading this thinking “gosh, Cristi is always sick” well, the doctor finally took note of that too and has put me on a steroid regimen, whiiiiich I’m pretty sure is making me crazy. So, recap: can’t write therefore can’t work, bitter feelings resurfacing towards my ex, killer kidneys and roid rage. Awesome week, right?

Well, before we start the Cristi pity party let me tell you…it DOES get better. This weekend I’ll be kickin' up my boots and setting out to San Angelo, TX with some of my best girlfriends for a weekend full of beer, boots and bulls. That’s right—we’re heading to the San Angelo rodeo. Needless to say, I am soooo looking forward to this getaway and a girls weekend! I have the BEST friends in the world and I know 5 minutes into this trip, I’ll be forgetting all about the woes of this week. 

San Angelo Rodeo


Thursday, February 16, 2012

{Thrifty Thursday} Saving Versus Splurging

Last night after receiving the new Nordstroms catalogue in the mail I decided to go online and peruse their website. Who says advertising doesn’t work? I came across these gems from Rachel Zoe and maybe I was not in the know but I was blown away by how expensive the Rachel Zoe shoes were! Didn’t she used to sell her stuff at affordable prices on QVC? What happened to that? Anyway, after lusting after these perfect nude wedges that are sadly, not in my budget I got searching the internet to find an affordable option. And found these and these at slightly more affordable prices. Check them out. And remember, before you splurge, look for the savings! 


Friday, February 10, 2012

I Wanna Dance!

Yesterday I received my first acceptance letter to law school! It’s to an amazing school and one of the top 25 programs in the nation…but now I’m confronted with the actual thought of going to law school. Is this really what I want to do? It reminds me of this scene from one of my favorite movies. Because after all, don’t we all just want to DANCE.

Happy Friday! 


Thursday, February 9, 2012

{Thrifty Thursday} A Shopping Spree

Is any one else having the kind of week that requires a major, I mean MAJOR retail therapy session?  Here's a little push, thanks to some favorite retailers giving us just a little extra incentive to shop today.  It's like they just know. 

Save when you spend on ladies fashions and shoes at Bloomingdale's.  Of course, the more you spend, the more you save.  Gotta love a deal that is inclusive of sale items, too though!

Retailer Saks Fifth Avenue is offering shoppers rebates for shopping with them today.  The more you spend, the more you'll have for your next rainy day.  
And last, but not least, a just-reduced drool-worthy tote, fit for all of your shopping days!  Cristi and I have been obsessing about this bag ALL day!!!

Hello,please come visit!  Purchase here

Happy shopping!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How to Wear Oxfords

Remember when I told you the right way to wear a midi skirt? Well, I’ve found yet another trend that can either look totally awesome or awesomely bad. I am obsessed with the oxford shoe trend, but only when worn correctly! My favorite way to sport an oxford? Rolled up jeans, a simple tee (I love my T by Alexander Wang tee) tucked in, skinny belt and a blazer or cardi thrown over. I think it’s the perfect chic street style. Oxfords can also be paired with cute dresses and even the midi skirt. I also LOVE oxfords and strips. Think simple striped sweater, cuffed jeans and a lovely leather oxford. Just be careful not to over do the geek chic look. And yes, I would classify Oxfords as geek chic considering they were a staple of my catholic school uniform for 18 years. Here are some of my favorite oxford looks. What do you think? 


Monday, February 6, 2012

{We're Obsessed!} Spring Color Block

I'm tickling myself that the color block trend is spilling into spring from the looks we saw in the fall.  I just love color, and seeing multiple shades on a single piece is a trend I will gladly embrace this year.  I am still struggling with how I'll actually incorporate the fabulously colorful color block into my own wardrobe, so I've pulled some of my favorite looks from some of my favorite designers. 

Look 1: Pleats with bold and black

Splurge on this gorgeous Milly dress ($485) or save on this bright skirt ($68)
Look 2: White, orange and black

Splurge on this amazing DVF Harper Laurel tote ($685) or save on this smartly casual aqua dress ($88)
Look 3: Blue and Teal

Make a splash in these spectacular B Brian Atwood espadrilles ($550) or save on this ocean-hued Aqua dress ($88)


Thursday, February 2, 2012

{Thrifty Thursday}: Baby Clothes for Him

So since I found out I’m going to be an aunt one of the most exciting parts of it all is getting to turn this little nugget into one dapper dude. But turning him into a sharp dressing lil' man doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. Check out these amazing affordable looks I found at The Children's Place! I can’t way to dress my future nephew!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's Never Too Late...

I know that New Years resolutions are supposed to start on January 1, but I’ve decided my resolutions are starting today, February 1. I noticed I’ve recently developed some bad habits that I need to shed asap so I’m setting my goals.

First, I’ve GOT to stop eating in bed. Lately I’ve had so much work to do when I get home that I’ll usually eat my dinner or snack while working in bed. This has GOT to stop. There is nothing sexy about rolling around in crumbs.

Secondly, I’ve started smoking when I drink. Ew. I know. This is terrible. I’ve got to shed this habit immediately before my teeth, skin and hair go bad. It should be noted that I’ve only have smoked maybe 5 cigarettes since this habit started—but even one is too many!

Thirdly, I’ve been eating out a lot. But I love to eat out! I mean I love food and I love catching up with my friends over a delicious meal and some wine BUT my finances would argue that this is a habit I’ve got to get control over. On that same note, I should probably control my drinking during the week. Wine has basically turned into water for me.

Fourthly, I really miss walking to work and have decided I am going to take [gasp] public transportation to a metro station that is about half a mile from my office. I used to live a mere mile from my office and would walk to/from work everyday but now that  I live in a house a littler further away I’ve been driving to work and A) it costs me $50/month to park at work and B) I really miss my walks, especially the morning ones. So with this new public transit option I can still get a little walking in on my day AND save money by not paying for parking. (my monthly DART pass is only $6!!)

And lastly, I’ve started drinking diet coke and a rather regular basis and I know it’s not good for me and need to stop. I’ll save it only for those occasions when I’m eating a delicious burger!

So those are my resolutions for now….gotta start small. Wish me luck! 

How are you doing on your New Years resolutions?