Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Glitter is our Friend




So happy when I saw Lily Lemontree's post the other day! If it's a special enough occassion to get dressed up, go all out and don't skimp on the shine!
http://lilylemontree.blogspot.com/2012/02/glitteratti-style-at-2012-academy.html

In my personal opinion, you can never have too much glitter (or sequins). I luv, luv, luv glitter and think a little glitter makes everything so much better!









Eva Longoria and Taylor Swift both believe in the healing powers of sequins (as does Carrie Underwood, Kate Winslet, Nicole Richey, Anne Hathaway).




Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A little Sun, a little Give-Away

One of my favorite websites, Hooked on Houses, has the most magnificent photos of one of my most favorite movie houses with one of my favorite actresses! #Daymade
http://hookedonhouses.net/2012/02/27/under-the-tuscan-sun-the-real-life-renovated-villa/

If you need a little mini-mental vacation, check out Cote de Texas's blog post today! Luv, luv, luv today's photos and give-away!
http://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/2012/02/fabulous-california-vacation-giveaway.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CoteDeTexas+%28COTE+DE+TEXAS%29


Head over to Carolina Country Girl's website to enter her Kindle Fire Cover give-away!
http://thecarolinacountrygirl.blogspot.com/2012/02/giveaway-time.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CarolinaCountryGirl+%28Carolina+Country+Girl%29

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscar

I watched the red carpet yesterday but just couldn't get into it. That whole Sasha Baron Cohen stunt didn't impress me at all (I really hate red carpet desperation / antics).

This looks very, very similar to something Nicole Kidman wore on the red carpet a couple of years back.

Viola Davis in Vera Wang. Not my favorite dress of the night. Loved the color but I don't like the "slash" accent and think the waistline cuts her off.




This is the young 20-something actress from "The Descendants" with George Clooney. I thought this dress was a little "old" for her and could picture it on Tilda Swinton or Cate Blanchett or Helen Mirren.








I thought Octavia Spencer looked BEAUTIFUL and was so happy she won! I know Auburn aluni everywhere are very, very proud!










I really like this dress on Cameron Diaz. It's just right. She wasn't nominated for anything so it's entirely appropriate.




I mean c'mon. It's Clooney. He's like a fine wine.





I love this gown on Jessica Chastain from "The Help." Her skin looks beautiful.





Friday, February 24, 2012

March Madness

"Each leaf,
each blade of grass
vies for attention.
Even weeds
carry tiny blossoms
to astonish us."
- Marianne Poloskey, Sunday in Spring





So much gong on the next couple of weeks, it will be a miracle if I survive the month of March!

This week coming up is high school dance team try-outs. So glad that phase of our lives is over (except I now have to worry about Rebelettes)! T had a wonderful time being a Bnette but that try-out week is a killer! So stressful on the girls AND the parents! I think there are over 70 girls trying-out this year. Of course every parent wants their child to do well and make the squad and we certainly know how it felt not to make it one year. Damn near broke my heart to see T upset. But, she got back to the studio and worked her ass off to make the squad the following year and has truly enjoyed every bit of it . . . the grueling practice schedule, the dance competitions, the football games, the band competitions, basketball games, pep rally's. Everything. Very, very proud of my Bnette and can't wait to have her "sparkley" and boots framed in a shadowbox for a graduation gift.

Lax season is underway. Coach had games in Nash-Vegas this past weekend (lost Saturday night; won Sunday). T's season started Saturday with a HUGE win against Huntsville (T had 4 goals and by the end of the 2nd quarter the coaches took all our starters out; she spent the rest of the game in sweats and flip-flops) and vball is going great! Last week KJ's squad scrimmaged against the 13 year old team and her coach finally pulled her out after she scored 9 points. The 13 year old coach was mad and made her girls run laps because the younger squad was scoring on them. This weekend's tournament in Huntsville however was a little rough. The girls were all out of it and we did not play great.

Cosmo starts his new job today! Whoop! Whoop! So exciting! It was a tough decision and we had a lot of family meetings, a lot of soul searching and figuring out what's best for the 4 of us and not worry about any outside influences or distractions.

After her lax game this weekend, T will drive out to Oxford for a dance team clinic and is staying in one of the sorority houses with a friend. Just when I thought I didn't have to worry about dance team try-outs anymore, I now have to worry about her making the college squad. Sheesh. T's graduation announcements arrived in the mail the other day. Cosmo & I just kind of looked at each other and said, "This sh*t just got real."




So we've got another busy week of vball and lax on the calendar and 2 more vball tournaments before Spring Break, a trip to Chicago right before Spring Break, Spring Break itself (YES!!!) and then Rebelettes try-outs. March isn't even here yet and as far as I'm concerned, it's already over.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's OK


Its Ok Thursdays


It's OK . . .


...that I didn't participate in Roots & Rings "10 on Tuesday" this week. It was about math. I just don't "do" math. Worst subject in school and it brought back horrible memories for me. :-)


...that we will once again have a positively psychotic weekend of lacrosse, volleyball and some DYW thrown in for good measure.



...that T-bone maybe doing an internship this summer from May to August. No really. It's OK. I thought we'd have one last summer w/ her before she went off to college but this is something she really wants and the experience will be incredible. It's OK. I just need to keep telling myself that.


...it's really OK that I luv, luv, luv the people I work with. Our lunch conversations are hysterical and we all get along really well despite the huge age difference.


...it's OK that I took the afternoon off for a little "me" time. I'm worth it and needed it.

Stuff

Just some stuff I'm digging today:


Never thought I was much of a "purple" person but Wow! I'm totally loving the purple tablescape on http://vignettedesign.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Iron Chef



Birmingham chef Chris Hastings on “Iron Chef America” this Sunday
"Iron Chef America" featuring Birmingham chef Chris Hastings against Iron Chef Bobby Flay will air Sunday, Feb. 26 at 9 p.m. on the Food Network

From the article “Stepping into the spotlight” by Teri Greene in The Montgomery Advertiser:

Sunday, for the first time, the state of Alabama will be represented on one of Food Network's most widely-watched competition shows: "Iron Chef America."Chris Hastings, owner and executive chef at Birming¬ham's renowned Hot and Hot Fish Club will throw down with Bobby Flay, one of the win¬ningest chefs in the show's his¬tory, in the arena-sized Kitchen Stadium. For Hastings, the match air¬ing Sunday is one more step on the ladder of foodie fame. Tuesday, he was named as a semifinalist for the James Beard "Best Chef in the South" award. Teaming up with Hastings as sous chefs are Rob McDaniel, executive chef at the Lake Martin restaurant Springhouse and former chef de cuisine at Hot and Hot, and Sedesh Boo¬dram, another former Hot and Hot chef de cuisine. McDaniel opened Spring¬house in April 2009 and credits Hastings with helping launch his career as an executive chef. It has been a whirlwind: get¬ting the invite from the show -- which debuted in 2005 as a spinoff of the original Japanese series -- preparing for the challenge and the mind-blow¬ing, pressure-cooker experi¬ence of competing.


So how did the state's first-ever Iron Chef challenger get a chance to step foot in Kitchen Stadium? "They asked if we would be interested in getting on a long list," said Hastings, who had been touring with his wife, Idie, to promote their cook¬book, "Hot and Hot Fish Club Cookbook: A Celebration of Food, Family, and Traditions," written with Katherine Cobbs. Hot and Hot has a longstand¬ing good reputation in the res¬ta rant world. But the book tour, which had Hastings ap¬pearing as guest chef at food events throughout the U.S., cer¬tainly didn't hurt, he said. The interview for the show was great, Hastings said. He tried to convince the producers that his team would be up for the challenge. They said he'd hear from them in two weeks. He didn't. Then, last June, "They sent the email saying, 'Hey, you're up.'"

"That was a really swallow-hard moment, because I had talked to some of my chef buddies, and I began to realize it is a really big deal," he said. "'Iron Chef America' is the Food Network's iconic, serious food competition -- you have professional chefs, my peers that I respect, and vice-versa. "When you're asked to par¬ticipate it raises your thought process to an entirely different level because you know you cannot fail in front of millions of people who are watching and, more importantly, your contemporaries." And he has seen it happen -- chefs almost losing their fin¬gers while chopping, others just beginning to plate their food when the final buzzer sounds. Five dishes, 60 min¬utes, countless viewers, endless re-runs and Internet replays. Pressure like that sometimes leads chefs to over think everything.


"That puts you on a very dangerous path and takes you away from your roots, the way you cook every day, your fun¬damental way that has worked brilliantly for a long time," Hastings said. "When chefs get away from that, that's when you see them fail. You don't want to be that person." Nor did he want either of his sous chefs melting on the kitchen floor. Hastings called McDaniel about the July 4 taping in New York. "He asked me what I was doing July Fourth," said McDa¬niel, who'd worked with Has¬tings for more than three years. "I said, 'Well it's the lake, so I'm going to be busy.' He said, 'Well, do you want to be on 'Iron Chef?" We got to work the next Monday."

"Iron Chef America" unveils its central "secret ingredient" at the top of the show. And competitors do not know ahead of time what that item will be. "They are offered a range of possibilities, but there is abso¬lutely an element of surprise," Hastings said. However, the judges' crite¬ria is well known: 10 points for taste, 5 for plating/presentation and 5 for originality, and the in¬gredient often has little to do with the type of food a chef is accustomed to preparing. "I think it's less about who you are as a restaurateur and more about showing that you're capable," Hastings said, "What¬ever ingredient you're given, you should be able to deal with it. If at that point you don't know what to do, you haven't done your homework."
Hastings, McDaniel and Boo¬dram set up lots of scenarios, working four mornings a week for six weeks, setting up the Hot and Hot kitchen so that each would have to sprint a dis¬tance just to fetch an ingredi¬ent or piece of equipment. There was an informal audi¬ence, and Idie Hastings ob-served, worked a stopwatch and threw questions and com¬ments at them as they worked, in the style of host Alton Brown and floor reporter Ke¬vin Brauch. Though chefs are convivial and tend to support one anoth¬er, a certain reputation has stuck, McDaniel said. "All chefs are quarterbacks, and they all want the ball." It was important that mem¬bers of team Hastings consider each other equals and become brutally honest. After weeks of preparation and organization each chef was part of a well-oiled machine.


"We didn't have to speak a lot because we knew what the other person was supposed to be doing," McDaniel said. "If you ever talk to chefs or kitch¬en people, they talk about, 'a perfect night is a dance.' No¬body talks. It's just a dance, and I think that's what we did. You don't have to communi¬cate, because you know the next move of the person." The network had advised Hastings to assemble a team that did not require him. Yes, someone had to be in charge, but no one had to be the alpha male. "You need people that you instinctively trust to be there to do their job," Hastings said. "Going back to the dance thing, go with the people you've danced well with, knowing the moment is not too big for them. "That allowed us more confi¬dence and a way of sticking true to the philosophy of the brand. Ultimately, I think it made for better TV. We didn't lose our minds in the moment. We were calm when the bombs started going off."
In fact, the judges panel and the production team said the Hot and Hot team was one of the smoothest they had ever seen. "That was kind of huge to us," McDaniel said. The chefs are not allowed to reveal the outcome of their bout. McDaniel's wife doesn't even know. Idie Hastings knows, but only because she was there for the taping in July. The Hastings' kids don't know. When it comes down to it, the result takes a second seat to the overall experience and exposure, Hastings said. "We put our brand out there to millions of people every time it airs, and we hope we represented ourselves well. So that was more important to us -- that we represented our¬selves, our brand, our cities and our state."


Still, there is a lot of suspense surrounding the Sunday night broadcast. Until recently, the chefs weren't even allowed to reveal that Flay was their competitor until the Food Network re¬leased the info. Hastings' strat¬egy for choosing Flay was sim¬ple. The team would face the chef who, at the time of taping, had the top winning percentage of the show. Why? "You want to go down as ei¬ther losing to the top guy or, if you win, beating the top guy."

For the complete article please see http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012202220327.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Beauty & The Beast

As always in our household, our weekend was a weird juxtaposition of beauty and brawn. Saturday was our high school's annual Senior Beauty Walk and on Sunday we sat in the freezing cold to cheer on the boys lacrosse team. I guess this is what keeps us grounded and balanced. Not too much girly stuff, not too much testosterone.


Saturday morning was the lacrosse team's annual pancake breakfast fundraiser. I love this fundraiser because the boys do all the work! They sell the tickets, they greet guests at the door, they serve everyone and they clean up afterward. It's a nice chance to visit with the parents and I love seeing friends and neighbors support the boys. Both JV & Varsity won on Sunday against a team from Tallahassee. Varsity's win was ugly but a win is a win.


T had to be downtown at the Alabama Theater by 9 AM Saturday for rehearsals so she stopped by the pancake breakfast to eat beforehand and spend some quality time w/ Cosmo. She came home from rehearsal, showered and had her hair appointment at 2 PM. She had to be back at the theater by 4 or 4:30 PM so she grabbed a bite to eat and was in the dressing room in plenty of time to do her make-up and get dressed. Meanwhile, I had gone out to an early dinner w/ friends and was supposed to be at the theater before Cosmo & KJ to save some seats. Well, 65N traffic was positively horrendous and I really started to panic. I thought I was never going to make it in time and when I finally pulled up to the theater, I threw the car in park and jumped out. My friend parked the car while I ran in to find some decent seats. Fortunately, Cosmo & KJ made it to the theater a few minutes before me and were able to get seats for all of us.



T had a wonderful experience at the Beauty Walk and said it was so much fun! She had been looking forward to this night since freshman year and I'm so glad she has the confidence to put herself out there. She said one of the best parts for her was the dressing room. There were 106 girls total. She was in the first 50 and they had smaller dressing rooms. The second group of 50 were in one big huge dressing room. T was in a dressing room with a couple of girls that she wasn't really friends with / or had been friends with in elementary/middle school and they went their separate ways as they got older. She said it was really nice to bond a little and talk. They helped each other with their gowns and one of the girls was really, really late due to all that traffic and they all pitched in and helped her get ready. T said she got to spend time with some girls that she ordinarily wouldn't hang out with and that was really nice. So I guess that's what Beauty Walk is all about! I like the Beauty Walk because it's not a popularity contest, the kids don't vote, the teacher's don't nominate anyone. It's truly the judges decision and I like when someone out of left field wins (and of course I love looking at all those gorgeous gowns!). T said this year's winner is a very nice, very sweet girl and everyone was very happy for her.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

The other day a friend posted a great article about how we're raising a generation of helpless kids. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Mickey-goodman/are-we-raising-a-generati_b_1249706.html Here's an additional, similar article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rhiana-maidenberg/generation-x-parents_b_1257602.html?ref=parents

The timing couldn't have been better. This past weekend Champ & I had a great conversation with a friend about "kids today." Her husband had chaperoned the annual 5th grade overnight trip and couldn't believe how helpless some of the kids were. One of the kids couldn't flush the toilet in the cabin. Not that the toilet wouldn't flush, it was that the kid couldn't. Like flat out said, "I can't." One of the mom's on the trip repeatedly stopped smack dab in the middle of the activities to tie her kids shoe. The woman dropped everything, knelt on the ground and put the kid's foot on her thigh so she could tie the shoe. Did I mention these are 5th graders?

Champ decided to share a funny story from one of the very first out of town lacrosse trips they took. After a long bus ride and a late hotel check-in, the bus driver unloaded the equipment from underneath the bus and placed everything on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. The majority of boys grabbed their bags as they walked into the hotel to check-in. Of course, there were a couple of boys that were either so entirely clueless or so entirely spoiled that they just left their bags on the ground and STEPPED over them to get into the hotel. Who did they think was going to carry their equipment for them? Oh yeah! Mommy & Daddy! That's who! After the coaches gave the boys heir room keys, gathered them all up in the lobby and told them, "the bus is leaving at XXX o'clock in the morning for the field. Be down in the lobby in your full uniform, with all of your equipment at XXX o'clock and give yourself plenty of time to have breakfast." One of the boys looked at Champ positively stricken with fear and said, "Coach. How will I know what time to wake up??" Honest to God. Champ looked at him and said, "What do you mean??" The kid said, "Who's going to wake us up?" And then it dawned on Champ. This kid's mommy has been waking him up since kindergarten. Sure enough. This kid had never set an alarm clock in his life. Didn't even know how to set the alarm setting on his fancy iPhone. Mommy woke him up every morning for school, made him breakfast, had his backpack ready to go by the door and drove him to school EVERY morning. The kid was a high-schooler.


I actually happen to really enjoy watching these movies w/ KJ!!!



And then, over on the Today Show, they're talking about parents who won't read Fairy Tales to their kids anymore because they are "Too Scary."
http://moms.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/16/10419753-survey-parents-think-classic-fairy-tales-are-too-scary-for-kids


What in the world are we doing to our kids?? We give out participation ribbons/medals in youth sports and we celebrate mediocrity. I know. I know. Not everyone is going to be an academic or athletic superstar. I get it. But when we tell kids, "It's OK. You did your best" when maybe they really didn't do their best, some thing's wrong. Our friend the chaperon said all weekend he heard nothing but excuses: "I'm doing my very best" or "Well, I'm trying." You know these kids hear that at home. "Well, honey. Just do your best. That's all anyone can ask of you." True. We want our kids to do their best and give their very best effort in whatever they do. However, what we're really implying is "Do your very best AND THEN SOME."

Now, I'm not one of those Chinese Tiger Mom's by any means but I do hope Cosmo & I have given our kids the skills and knowledge to become secure, confident, mature, responsible functioning human beings. Our kids have always had daily chores to do in our house (even when I had a cleaning lady, the girls were still responsible for their rooms) and have always had to help do yardwork. T has been working part-time at the lacrosse store since it opened and KJ will follow in her footsteps when the time comes. The girls have played sports since they were little (soccer, dance, softball, lacrosse and now volleyball). They have always been responsible for their own uniforms and equipment. The rule is: "Keep your stuff together." Take your cleats off, put them right back in the duffel bag. Take your uniform off, put it right in the laundry room. I can't wash it if it's stuffed in the bottom of your bag. Daughter #1 has always been responsible. I don't think she's EVER called me in a panic because she forgot something or lost something. I do remember one time after a violent thunderstorm at the softball fields that sent us all scrambling, T's coach called and said he found her glove in the dugout. KJ on the other hand is a complete mess. We've shown up at dance only to find out we have one tap shoe. We've arrived at lacrosse without a stick. She's called me in a tizzy from school several times because she's forgotten an assignment or her gym clothes and is going to get in trouble or have to sit out. Oh well. That'll learn ya'. That'll learn ya' real quick.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Is It Thursday Already??

So funny how some days just draaaaaag and other days fly by! I was pleasantly surprised to wake up and realize it was Thursday already! Whoop! Whoop! One more day until the weekend!



Its Ok Thursdays



It's OK . . .


... to be very excited about all the good things / changes we've got going on at our house. It's going to be crazy but it's all good!


... to wish I was in FL with my neice & nephew.


... to not know what to wear to work anymore! Alabama weather is crazy -- one day is in the 30's, the next it's 70.


... to start jonesing for some new spring clothes for the aforementioned crazy Alabama weather!


... there is a mountain of clean laundry on the couch with my name all over it.


... to deny a FB friend request because I have absolutely NO idea who this person is.


... to really enjoy "Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters"


... to be very excited for Daughter #2 who is seeing "Wicked" today.


... to wish I could get a blow-out every day of my life.


... to not like Diet Coke.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Countdown has Begun







99 days until T-bone graduates from High School!


As of right now I'm OK with this but as we get closer I'm sure I'll get more and more emotional. Champ, on the other hand, will be a complete mess (the man bawled like a baby when the girls got their ears pierced).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Grammy Recap

I've never been a TSwift fan and Nikki Minaj's performance at the Grammy's was disturbing.



I am not a country music fan at all. I'm sorry. I just don't like Miranda at all. She always looks pained or something.

Love the Foos and this photo of them holding hands like a bunch of teenage girls just cracked me up. They totally rocked it last night!



KJ yelled, "OMG! You can see her UNDERWEAR!!!"

I normally love Carrie Underwood but this seems a little "old" for her. She has incredible legs and should be showing them off!


This is one bad-ass Gramma. I hope to be this cool when I'm her age.

Absolutely gorgeous. Her hair, her make-up. That voice! I love her CD and listen to it at least twice a day at work!


Obviously the big news this weekend is the sad passing of Whitney Houston. We were at KJ's volleyball tournament when one of the mom's said, "Oh My God! My T-Mobile News is saying Whitney Houston is dead." Another mom said, "It's probably just a hoax. Didn't they say Bon Jovi had died recently, too?" I checked my twitter feed as the night went on (yeah, I know. Not the most reliable news source) and sadly the rumors were true. One of those weird, surreal, generational moments. Like when Elvis passed away or John Lennon was shot. Or when you heard that Michael Jackson was gone. She had a beautiful amazing voice and I remember being a young girl and seeing Whitney Houston in the pages of Seventeen Magazine.

I liked the fact that the Grammy's acknowledged Whitney's passing but didn't turn it into the Whitney show. LLCool J had some kind words during the opening segment and Jennifer Hudson's tribute was beautiful. I liked the memorials thoughout the show -- Alicia Keys & Bonnie Raitt honoring Etta James, the Beach Boys tribute and who didn't love Glen Campbell singing Rhinestone Cowboy??!! He sounded AMAZING!!! Bruce Springsteen sounded and looked great, too!



I love these little girls!!!

This dress is beautiful but she needs a little more support in the boob area. Oh, and ditch the blue hair. She looks like a Smurfette!

Next Up . . . !!!






















As soon as Valentine's Day is over, I turn my attention to my spring dining room table scape. Last year I did a shabby chic/Parisian flea market/rustic/earthy/natural kind of setting. I had a beautiful burlap table runner and focused on nature . . . a lot of bird accents; a lot of greenery -- topiaries, herbs, moss, succulents; some twine/raffia; a lot of rocks, candles and mason jars (of course!) and several arcitechureal elements.







I think last Spring's tablescape was one of my favorites. It just kind of evolved and I think it's much closer to my sense of style. I like mixing the old and the new. I like rustic, well-loved pieces that tell a story.



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