Month: January 2017

January in ‘Grams

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January is a tough birthday month– no one wants to do anything in the cold!  I managed to have a lovely time this year, though!  Here are some highlights:

[1] being chilly for Boston Winter! [2] loving my new Kindle [3] birthday dinners with the reason I’m so happy [4] Nubble Lighthouse in York, ME [5] a dachshund birthday card [6] Dashboard Confessional in concert [7] Boston harbor for serenity [8] haircut time! [9] loving Gloucester, where we’ll be married next year!

What are your favorite January moments?

Top Chef: Ah Spicy, Ah Ginger! Next!

It’s the episode I’ve been waiting for!  Michael Voltaggio guest judges for a very fun Quickfire– the blindfolded taste test!  This is one of my favorite challenges from the best of the Gordon Ramsay shows, so I always like seeing it.

When all is said and done, Emily, Silva, and Shirley named the fewest ingredients.  Brooke, Sheldon, and Casey did the best.  Sheldon got 10, Casey got 11, and Brooke crushed the competition with 16!  (John goes unmentioned in the middle of the pack.)

The challenge for the week is to create a meal that is reminiscent of your childhood. (more…)

Wedding Wednesday: Press Start

I’ve been dying to write a post like this forever, let alone since I got engaged!  Wedding planning can definitely be stressful, and the process is certainly daunting.  I thought I’d share some initial thoughts.

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So, you’re engaged…

The best advice I got the night we got engaged was from my friend Stacie.  Telling people the good news can be super exciting for some, but for others, like me, it feels overwhelming to suddenly have to share something so personal with everyone around you.  I announced my engagement to my friends with a texted photo of the ring on my finger– and then the onslaught began.  Stacie called me immediately after receiving the picture to congratulate me, and with a laugh warned me against people like her calling and monopolizing all of the night.  Sure, you might want to share the news, but don’t forget to enjoy the moment together.

When’s the wedding?

You will get asked this question the day you get engaged.  I think people recognize it’s ridiculous to ask when a couple has been engaged for hours or minutes… but, they will ask regardless.  Setting your date can be tough.  Venue availability will play majorly into this, so you might have a date in mind but it might shift once you find the venue.  I think the best you can do is pick a season or a month!  We knew, since it was late 2016 when we got engaged, that our wedding would be 2018.  I had a date in mind, but was horrified when Matt started telling people our tentative date when we hadn’t even looked at venues!  My best advice is not to get too attached to a date– it will go hand-in-hand with the venue.

First thing’s first

That being said, venue shopping is really your first step!  The Knot is a great resource for where to start, if you have no ideas at all.  It’s actually pretty easy to get started, visit the venues’ websites and email to get in touch.  (I created an email address specifically for wedding planning; good advice from my cousin!)  Most venues will send a packet with pricing info, but you’ll definitely have to make appointments to visit, see the space, and ask your questions!  Most girls, I think, have a vision of their wedding.  What we ended up choosing was not at all what my initial vision was, so keep an open mind!  We saw maybe 6 venues, but knew immediately when we found the right one.

Now you have a time & a place for your wedding!  It’s starting to feel real.  Now the fun details can fall into place.  You need the venue before the dress to see what truly fits, what the style of your wedding will be.  I’ll talk about saying yes to the dress in the next Wedding Wednesday, so stay tuned!

Top Chef: Tastes Like Strawberries

It’s the moment all the chefs have been waiting for: Restaurant Wars!  There is no Quickfire this time.  The chefs find themselves face to face with Daniel Humm, Will Guidara, and of course, Padma Lakshmi.  The space they stand in will be their restaurant… both teams’ restaurant, as they will serve on separate nights to see how each team can transform the same space.  They draw knives to determine teams.

Shirley and Katsuji pull knives to make them team captains.  Katsuji, who’s pulled first pick, selects Sheldon who admits he’s “had some luck” on this challenge before.  Shirley pulls Brooke, another solid Restaurant Wars veteran.  Katsuji picks Casey and Shirley picks Sylva, leaving John and Emily who are both tough picks after the last elimination.  Katsuji goes for John having worked successfully with him before and leaving Emily to Shirley.

Shirley naturally takes the role of executive chef.  She gives Brooke front-of-house, where she excelled in her last Restaurant Wars.  Katsuji, for whatever reason, does not want executive chef.  He wants to make three dishes.  He assigns this role to John and gives Casey front-of-house.  Katsuji also got to choose which night his team serves, and he’s opted to go second.

So, Shirley’s Red Team serves first.  Their restaurant is called Latitude, inspired by the sea.

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Brooke’s salmon is well received, but Emily’s squid ink pasta lacks both texture and flavor.  Shirley’s snapper goes over pretty well, but Sylva’s halibut is a big hit!  Shirley’s panna cotta is a disaster, though she knew it would be.  Emily buttermilk cake is surprisingly well received, though!

Katsuji’s Blue Team goes the next night.  They merge their styles using the south as their inspiration, since it is Top Chef Charleston after all.  Southern Belle serves up family style, making Tom ask, “Why are we sharing small plates?”

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Katsuji’s tamale is a bit confusing, but his beef tongue is a restaurant favorite.  His dessert is undercooked, though.  Sheldon’s soup doesn’t really work.  Casey’s dessert is nice and “tastes like strawberries.”

The Red Team wins, putting the Blue Team on the chopping block.  John, as executive chef, is under fire.  Katsuji, as the ultimate decision maker, takes the brunt of it and ends up packing his knives.

This was a tough one for me, as I like Katsuji!  Who do you think is next to go?!

Naked Ultimate Basics

Y’all know I’m an eye shadow palette-addict, and as much hype as Urban Decay’s Naked palettes get, I just didn’t find myself reaching for them all that much…

Enter, Naked Ultimate Basics.

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This baby has a lot of color variation– shades like those you’d find in all three of the Naked palettes, so it really bridges the collection.  Notice, I say “like” those you’d find in other Naked palettes, because all 12 of these colors are unique to Ultimate Basics.

This palette only contains matte shades, which is usually a drawback for me, but post-holiday season, I found myself looking for a more natural (read: less sparkly) look.  I’ve been reaching for this palette over and over again!  I’m extra obsessed with “Extra Bitter” right now.

The colors are:

  • Blow: light nude demi-matte, a great highlight shade
  • Nudie: soft pink-nude matte & the perfect base for my eyelids
  • Commando: light taupe-brown matte
  • Tempted: pale brown matte
  • Instinct: medium pink-taupe matte, love to blend with this one
  • Lethal: reddish brown matte
  • Pre-Game: pale yellow matte
  • Extra Bitter: burnth orange matte & the reason I love this palette
  • Faith: medium warm brown matte
  • Lockout: rich neutral brown matte
  • Magnet: smoky gray matte
  • Blackjack: warm black matte

Have you gotten your hands on Naked Ultimate Basics yet?

What palette are you loving lately?