Monday, February 28, 2011

Academy Awards 2011- Best Dressed

The awards season has drawn to a close with the royalty of all awards shows, The 2011 Academy Awards.  I am most proud of Natalie Portman for taking home the Oscar for her spectacular, stellar performance in Black Swan (did anyone really think she wouldn't win?!?). She looked breathtaking up there accepting her award.  I was also proud of Christian Bale for his Oscar win for Best Supporting Actor for The Fighter.  These are truly well deserving individuals who give their heart and soul to the art of acting.

Of course, I had to sit and watch the red carpet ceremony because I have to see first hand all the lovely designer gowns in order to select my list of best dressed.  I think I may enjoy that better than watching the show! LOL

Here are my top 5 gowns.  How do they stack up to your list?

Halle Berry in Marchesa
Anne Hathaway in Valentino
Reese Witherspoon in Giorgio Armani Prive
Mila Kunis in Elie Saab
Jennifer Hudson in Versace
Have a great week!

All photos via SocialiteLife

Sunday, February 27, 2011

{Color My World} PINK

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Photos via Tumblr

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

 "Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored."
~Earl Nightingale~
photo via Tumblr

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

{Weekend Highlights}

I know it's already Tuesday, but since Lil Diva and Lil Man had an extended weekend, today is my "Monday".  It was busy, fun, and exhausting.

So how did I spend my weekend?

* The weather was glorious on Friday (temps in the high 60's), so we took advantage and spent most of the day enjoying it in the park.

* Temps took a drastic dip reminding us it is still winter Saturday....Spent the whole day working in NYC.

* Tried a new sandwich at Cosi's....Chicken Tinga! It was absolutely delicious!

* Finished reading "Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn?" what am I?  Will let you know in my review!

* Spent a soul enriching  Sunday afternoon and evening with a group of friends I haven't seen in a long while. It felt so good to laugh and catch up. Made me realize how much I miss these get together and decided I am going to host one at my house soon!

*  Proved to myself that although I may be sewing machine challenged, I was able to pull off making a Viking costume for Lil Diva using my McGyver instincts consisting of corduroy material, ribbon, and stitchery 90 minutes time (forgot to take pics, will make sure to do so on her next filming day). It actually impressed the director of the short film. Glad we came prepared....Lil Diva was elevated from the understudy to the lead Princess role.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Have a glorious week!

Friday, February 18, 2011

{Friday Finds} How Sweet It Is

Lately, I have been in prep mode for Lil' Diva's Birthday Party.  I have been finding ideas and products to assist me with it in the unlikeliest of places.

Take Avon for example.....

They've come a long way baby! It isn't just for make-up and perfume!

Last year I created a candy bar for Leilani and her guests to make their own treat bags.  This year I have decided to step it up a notch and include not only candies, but baked goodies as well.  The macarons are a definite along with brownie lollipops made and decorated using the following:

Avon Brownie Lollipop Pan - $9.99
Avon Decorating Pen Set - $9.99

I can't wait to make the brownies and decorate them with frosting matching Lil' Diva's theme.  Anything to make entertaining more delightful, is a plus in my book!

Have a great weekend!

Photos via

Thursday, February 17, 2011

{Sharing Something Tasty} A Touch of Moroccan Flavor

I have to admit, I am not afraid of jumping in head first and trying new things in the kitchen.

So it is no surprise to my family to come home to dinner and find a new fare set before them.  Lucky for me, 2 out of the three individuals (aside from myself) are adventurous eaters and love trying something new.  It is always a gamble with Lil Man whether or not he will give anything he is not familiar with a try.  Tuesday's dinner called for a little something different.

Mr. Man, knowing my penchant for new recipes, purchased me a subscription to Cooking Light.  The January/February 2011 issue did not disappoint!  I decided to go a little out of my comfort zone and try a beef recipe.  I am a chicken kinda gal, but the Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash recipe (pg80) looked absolutely delicious.  And once I got started, Wow, it was quite fragrant too!

My family's verdict?

Mr. Man and Lil Diva, both said it was very tasty, even though neither are too big a fan of butternut squash.  Lil Man said it was very good.  And I absolutely loved it (I love my veggies!).

Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash


  • 2  teaspoons  paprika
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground ginger
  • 1/2  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  (1-pound) beef shoulder roast or petite tender roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 4  shallots, quartered
  • 4  garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3  cups  (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound)
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro


1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add beef; toss well to coat.
2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef and shallots; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Add squash; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Sprinkle with cilantro.

photo & recipe courtesy of Cooking Light

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

Dream big and aim high because you will surprise yourself, and discover that nothing is impossible. Be inspired to inspire. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Believe in the best and take everything as a learning experience.
- Author Unknown

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

{Tuesday Treasure} Lovely Valentines

Mr. Man came home from his long commute home from NYC with special treats to commemorate Valentine's Day.

 Godiva Limited Edition Chocolate Truffles &
Miss Dior Cherie perfume

A sweet way to end a beautiful day!

Monday, February 14, 2011

{Happy Valentine's Day!}

Wishing Everyone

A Day Filled With

Sweet Memories

& Most of all L*O*V*E!
All photos via Tumblr

Friday, February 11, 2011

{Tasty Treats} J'adore Macarons

Last month, my family and I took a day trip to NYC and decided to visit The Macaron Cafe and try some french macarons for the first time.  We loved them, and Lil Diva in particular, thought they were the best treat she has ever had.  So much, that she asked me if she can have them for her birthday party next month.

In doing the math I realized, this will be one pricey birthday party if we were to purchase the macarons for her all her guests, so I decided to take a look and see if I can find a recipe in order to make it myself.  I mean, how difficult can it be to make these pint size delicacies?

Answer? It is not as easy as it looks!

My first difficulty was locating a place that sells almond flour.  None of my local markets seemed to have it. But after further investigation I discovered it is sold at my local health food store.  A 16oz bag set me back $11.49. And because of it's relatively short shelf life (one month), at that price, it is no wonder the markets don't carry it. 

Now I was armed with all the ingredients necessary to bake macarons for the first time. I mix all my ingredients while listening to a constant array of questions and commentaries about Lil Man's day. I set up my macarons on the baking sheets, wait the 15 minutes before placing them in the oven, and once the baking time was over I was greeted with.....

Almond cookies!

I felt a tad bit defeated.  Where did I go wrong?  Well upon immediate inspection of the recipe I don't mix all the ingredients at once! Almond flour and confectioner's sugar is mixed in one bowl, while the egg whites & salt is mixed in a separate bowl to a froth and then slowly add granulated sugar till it peaks like meringue.....  That is what I get when I don't pay attention and have a little chatterbox buzzing in my ear!

I set out to try again the following morning.  I followed the directions to the T, and VOILA! Raspberry Macarons! Delicious!

I followed the recipe below which I found on the Martha Stewart website and that "Was a Good Thing".  I tweaked it by adding pink food coloring to the mixture at the end of step one. I also saved a little time by using Polaner All Fruit Raspberry Spread for the filling.  I'd love to hear if anyone makes their own variation of macarons!

Parisian Macarons (makes 16)

  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) finely ground sliced, blanched almonds
  • 6 tablespoons fresh egg whites (from about 3 extra-large eggs)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Macaron Filling


  1. To make the macarons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and ground almonds. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners' sugar mixture until completely incorporated.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch #4 round tip, and fill with batter. Pipe 1-inch disks onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. The batter will spread a little. Let stand at room temperature until dry, and a soft skin forms on the tops of the macaroons and the shiny surface turns dull, about 15 minutes.
  3. Bake, with the door of the oven slightly ajar, until the surface of the macarons is completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet. Gently peel off the parchment. Their tops are easily crushed, so take care when removing the macarons from the parchment. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
  4. To fill the macarons: Fill a pastry bag with the filling. Turn macarons so their flat bottoms face up. On half of them, pipe about 1 teaspoon filling. Sandwich these with the remaining macarons, flat-side down, pressing slightly to spread the filling to the edges. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  5. Variations: To make coffee-flavored macaroons: In step 1, add 2 drops brown food coloring to the egg whites after they are whipped. In step 4, blend 1/2 cup macaron filling with 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder dissolved in 1/2 teaspoon warm water for the filling. To make cassis-flavored macarons: In step 1, add 2 drops purple food coloring to the egg whites after they are whipped. In step 4, use 1/3 cup good-quality cassis jam for the filling. To make pistachio-flavored macarons: In step 1, add 2 drops green food coloring to the egg whites after they are whipped. In step 4, combine 1/2 cup macaron filling with 1 tablespoon pistachio paste for the filling. 
recipe found on

Thursday, February 10, 2011

{Happiness Is.....}

~Watching your little girl blossoming into a caring, compassionate, thoughtful young lady.~

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

The Path to a Dream
The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices
and lined with determination.
And though it has many stumbling blocks
along the way
and may go in more than one direction,
it is marked with faith.
It is traveled by belief and courage,
persistence and hard work.
It is conquered with a willingness
to face challenges and take chances,
to fail and try again and again.
Along the way, you may have to confront
doubts, setbacks, and unfairness.
But when the path comes to an end,
you will find that there is no greater joy
than making your dream come true.
—Barbara Cage

Monday, February 7, 2011

{Book Review} Let the Great World Spin

This book was on the New York Times Bestseller......and for good reason.

The book intricately weaves you through the lives of a series of New Yorkers living in different economic classes, many of them strangers to one another.  But one act ties them all together.  McCann vividly paints a picture in your mind of what each of these individuals is going through, what their life is like, the emotions they feel within their souls.

I was drawn to this book while shopping at my local price club.  A sucker for books who have been on the New York Times Bestseller list and having won a National Book Award.  An added bonus was the fact the story takes place in my hometown of New York City.  The story begins with two brother's Carrigan and John in Ireland and traces their childhood.  McCann captivated all my senses with his description, I was immediately swept away.  I was totally engrossed the moment the setting changes to New York City in the 1970's.

I finished this book this morning.....and all I can say is that the book touched me.  It moved me.  I am forever grateful for having been drawn to it and purchasing it.

This is one book I would highly recommend.  Callum McCann takes a true event (tightrope walker who walked one hundred and ten stories high over New York City) and used it to create a believable work of fiction that touches your heart.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

{Weekend Wishes}

* Hope I can find almond flour so Miss Diva and I can make our first attempt at making French Macarons.
* Looking forward to Mr. Man's first attempt at making
Bonefish Grill's Bang Bang Shrimp
(given he finds a couple of key ingredients he couldn't find at the local market).
* Complete my photo order so I can fill in all the empty picture frames around the house.
* Enjoy the commercials during the Super Bowl!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Sunday and start to the new week!

Friday, February 4, 2011


Thank God It's Friday indeed!

It has been quite the week for me....running on auto-pilot with a pulled muscle on neck and shoulder.  It seems with battling winter colds, flu, etc, I can't catch a break.  As my dear friend Elfie would say, "my body is at wars with itself".

But enough of the soapbox. It's Friday!

What am I looking forward to most this weekend?

* My first attempt at making macarons.  

* Getting to market to pick up all the ingredients for a chock full of new recipes
I will be trying with my family next week.

* Snuggling up with Mr. Man and watching a movie Saturday evening.

* A completely event free Sunday! (Wow, did I say that! LOL)

* Quality time spent as a family...a treat, since Lil Diva & Lil Man, have been busy 
the past few weekends with rehearsals.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”
- Coco Chanel