Monday, May 23, 2011

"Call me morbid or absurd"

I should say call us...

I have come across a list of cancelled TV shows for the 2010-11 season and The Hubs and I have been going through it and watching 'em one by one ~ at least the ones we can find.

Is that morbid that we want to watch dead shows? Are we absurd that we want to make fun of bad TV?

First off was 100 questions. Cute concept - a British babe goes to a matchmaking service and the matchmaker asks her 100 questions. We get the answer to one question each episode. Cute so far, right? Then it goes horribly wrong...the laugh track is out of control!! After every line uttered the laugh track is right there - guffawing it up. It got distracting, I couldn't even focus on the characters because all I could hear was laughing. Oh, and her accent got annoying. No wonder it only lasted only 6 episodes.

Then we checked out America's Next Great Restaurant. I remember being excited about this one because The Hubs and I have a diner idea and I was curious the steps they would have to go through. But again, a fizzle - or maybe not. I honestly don't remember what restaurant concepts made it through the first day because The Hubs and I were too busy talking about our idea! Oh and The Hubs doesn't like Bobby Flay.
Probs because of this:

kind of a long clip, but bear with me..it's about 3:35 in

Do you watch bad TV? Do you specifically hunt down cancelled shows to watch? Or is that just me?
(And did you just get disgusted by the Bobster?)

More importantly, have you participated in the Bloggers Do It Better challenge? Or the Two Birds Inspiration Monday?  I did! Both were all about menswear or prep school. I like the menswear/Annie Hall look. Maybe I should sport it more often.



I hardly ever wear this hat but really like it. Just don't have much that goes with it.


I'm wearing a tie from the $.99 store. No joke and it's 100% silk! I bought two - yeah, yeah big spender.


It was really hot today. Too hot for a long sleeve, sweater vest, tie and jacket! Whewww!! But I'll definitely dig this back up again in the fall.

How do you rock the menswear??

relax,
paulina

p.s. now for the absurd:

video
Gotcha!

FBFF: I'm peeved off!

No, not really.

It's taking me a while to do this post because I really had to think about it.

My conclusion is:

I don't care!

I was going to write up some peeves but they more I thought of it the more I thought:

I don't care!

If you put too many pictures, blurry pictures, ramble on, the font color is off, the background is too busy...who really cares! (and we've all been guilty of some of these things at some time)

That is what you like! Who am I to judge what you do on your blog? Would I tell you how to write or what to write in your personal journal? No! The same goes here.

I don't take blogging seriously. I use it as a tool to remind me of what I've done throughout the months, how my style is changing, find recipes and hopefully like minded individuals! I'm not out to make money, make a name or be featured on Iron Chef America as a judge (although that would be cool!).

So, in that vein I don't take what you put on your blog as a personal offense (unless you just happen to write my name or something - then that's a whole 'nother thang!) if I don't like it I don't follow. I follow because the I feel the blogger and I have something in common, they're funny, cook delicious meals or wear really cute dresses! I like linky parties because that's a group of bloggers doing something fun and in the case of EBEW if you see others in your town wearing maxi's or floral on that day you can be like "hey, EBEW?" (you might get some weird looks though). Blogging is fun and a nice hobby but nothing more than that. Why should there be a strict formula or rules? Write how you want bad grammar and all, feel what you feel PC or not, design how you want to design pink with purple polka dots or not. Besides we're not automatons, wouldn't that be boring!

Now the only thing I take seriously is you! I adore it when my followers tick up or the stats show that people have been popping in all day!! (who doesn't!) That shows that you like something here. And that keeps me motivated to write more because we gotta stay connected, right?! If I don't always respond right away or it's been a li'l while since I visited your blog...my apologies. No excuses but I'm a mother, wife, go to school, writing a novel, working on doing some more freelance, reading, watching and trying to fit in time to relax! We are all busy and have other lives so if you don't always respond when I leave a comment that's cool. I don't give to get.

I cherish my followers and I thank you each and every one!! {virtual hug}

This is my first time doing the FBFF hosted by Modly Chic and I'm a li'l nervous hitting publish...

relax,
paulina

Friday, May 20, 2011

French Food Files: Poulet à la crème à l'estragon aka chicken with cream and tarragon

Learned two things yesterday:

1) My Little Monster likes sesame chips.

2) Tarragon is an herb.
     Always thought it was some mystical cult from medieval times who would charge around on their war       horses brandishing their swords and yelling, "TARRAGON!"

No?

No. As I found out it's an herb with a licorice taste.

I don't like licorice.
=========================================================
Another recipe from France: The Beautiful Cookbook, I skipped the seafood chapters and went straight to poultry. {oh, another thing I found out: 3) Safeway sells duck. Never knew that.}

Poulet à La Crème à l'Estragon
from France: The Beautiful Cookbook
adapted by: me!

1 chicken - $8
10 sprigs fresh tarragon - $2
1 oz butter
3/4 chicken stock
3/4 heavy cream

Total - $11 (I also bought fresh broccoli)
(linking up today with Delicious Dishes, It's a Keeper and Friday Potluck)
=========================================================
Unwrap the chicken and have The Hubs take the gizzards out. (eeewwww!!)

Season with salt inside and out. Then stuff with 8 sprigs of tarragon.

While stuffing the bird have 1/2 the butter melting in a pot big enough to hold the chicken.


Once melted add the chicken and brown on all sides. The book says 10 minutes and that's what we did but our skin didn't brown up like they show, so maybe 5 more minutes or just brown till skin looks golden.

Remove chicken and pour out the butter.


Deglaze the pot with the chicken stock. Now, I didn't have stock so I just made some with a chicken bouillon cube.


Once pot has become deglazed put the chicken back in, cover and cook on low heat for 1 hour and 20 minutes.


After the long wait, while delicious smells are wafting through the kitchen, you then remove the chicken set it aside and keep warm. Boil the liquid that is left over until it is syrupy (which took a while) then add the cream and boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add a few sprigs of tarragon and remove from heat.


Carve the chicken and pour the sauce over.

I served this with: a green salad

spinach, iceberg lettuce, green onion, and tarragon (bad idea!)

white rice


steamed broccoli with cheese


Verdict:  Everyone really liked the chicken. Picky Pants had seconds and even asked for more sauce! whoa! The chicken was juicy and it was the right amount of tarragon any more would have overwhelmed the dish.

Although....the skin didn't brown as well as I would have liked and I thought that the dish tasted very holiday-ish. Like it should be Thanksgiving or even Christmas. It was the tarragon. It had the taste of winter time. Do you know what I mean? I added some to my salad and like I said before, bad idea. It was ok if I had other stuff but unfortunately my last bite was all tarragon! *shudder* I had to go eat a cracker to get that taste out of my mouth. Like I also said before, not a big fan of the licorice taste. A li'l of this goes a long way - remember that!

But really, overall, a keeper! We noticed that the next day the sauce got very thick, you could spread it with a knife. The Hubs put some on a roll with the leftover chicken and said it still tasted good, better even.

As for that cult, well...if you happen to be in an old dusty store browsing through cookbooks and you hear a whisper "What thyme is it?" just answer,

"TARRAGON"

relax,
paulina

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nature calls

There's a beautiful botanical garden in my neighborhood.


 A creek runs through it and there are paths that wind through plots of flowers and groves of trees. It's a peaceful, calming place in the middle of a hectic city. I enjoy going here to write and/or daydream.

Swung by today to take some outfit pics.


Just to show off my thrift finds. I've been looking to add some color to my vanilla/chocolate wardrobe.
Dang it, now I want some ice cream.

So I've started with jeans. Have been on the hunt for colored ones and found two pairs at my local thrift store - actually I think that's what it's called...The Thrift Store.


One was this light pink pair for $2.50. A nice straight leg, not skinny, although the waist might be a tad high. But as I'm writing this they have comfortably stretched and have fallen a bit so they don't feel so much like mom jeans anymore.


And this purple pair for $1.50.  Don't ask me why the discrepancies in price when it's at the same store, I'm just glad they do it! These ones are more of a skinny cut and no they don't have pleats, it does look like it in the pic (and like they are bleached) but no they are perfect. I hit the bulls eye twice with this shopping trip especially as I never try on there. My success rate at doing that is about 90%.

Do you try on the clothes there or just hope for the best??

I'm linking up today with Meagan from Spunky Chateau. She started a Thursdays are for thrifters link party. If you are a thrifter and/or want to be inspired by some thrifty finds check it out!

You might have noticed that I posted earlier today.

Why two posts in one day? Why am I kissing dog tags*? Why do fools fall in love?



relax,
paulina

*They're The Hubs. He was in the navy.
P.s. forgot to mention also linking up with The Pleated Poppy, been weeks since I've been on there...

Wednesday's Writings: 10 things I love about you



Intelligent. On a variety of subjects.
Adore the way you Laugh. 
How you are Unbeatable at Monopoly.
Your Vigorous hikes with the kids.
Your Strength.
You're quite Handsome.
Ability to help someone at a moments notice.
Loving Yeasayer to all my crazy schemes.
How you're always Nice to waiters, old people and animals.
Basically, Everything!

================================================================

If you haven't guessed, I'm participating in Mama Kat's World Famous Writer's Workshop. One of the prompts for today was to list 10 things about one of your favorite people and since I had missed last weeks love letter I decided to dedicate this to someone special. The Hubs!

If I haven't said it lately - You are very special to me -

relax,
paulina


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Movies, writers and leopard print...oh my!

Watched four movies lately in which the main characters were all writers, or in the case of Repo Men, aspiring writers.  I didn't know this going in, well.....ok, Ghost Writer gave it away and the info for Russian Dolls said something about a down-n-out writer, but I didn't know about the other two - honest!

(If one only watches 1/2 of two movies does that still count as having been seen?)

So...how to go about this?  I guess systematically will work...

Checked out Russian Dolls, or Les poupées russes, on Netflix. I've had a bee in my bonnet over french films lately. This one had Romain Duris who've I've seen before in Heartbreaker (review here). In this one he plays Xavier a thirty year old who is unsatisfied with his career. He wanted to be a big writer but instead is playing the bills by being a reporter, a ghost writer and more recently writing for a tv soap. (I didn't pick up that it was a soap, thought it was a cheesy movie, until I read it on IBDb.) Oh, yeah...his love life is unsatisfying too.

So, it goes on. He ends up reconnecting with an old school chum's little sister (now not so little at 26ish), who is also a writer and they work together on that cheesy soap/movie. Of course stolen glances, awkward silences and the like occur. All complicated with an ex-boyfriend and a flirty guy at a bar they frequent. It ends with the typical boy falls for girl, girl and boy hook-up, boy loses girl, girl runs off, boy chases down, happy ending for all.

What I liked about it was that I didn't have to pay to see this! Xavier's career path never really gets resolved and I didn't like who he ended up with. Throughout the film Xavier complains that he doesn't want to write the same ol' kind of love story, that people don't really act like that, then the movie just ends up exactly like a basic rom/com. I didn't really like that, I thought the movie could have gone further....maybe they fall in love and leave the city behind, maybe he doesn't fall in love and ends up being a big writer. I don't know, something! It does have it's funny moments and alert: there's a scene where Xavier and one of his ex-girlfriends are running down the street stark naked!! No joke!! (was glad the kids were in bed when that li'l scene popped up!) For a Netflix movie it's not so bad, let's say 3/5 stars.

Next watched The Ghost Writer.  Hated it! Although I was surprised to see Kim Cattrall and Jim Belushi in it. In this Ewan McGregor plays The Ghost (did we not get his name? I don't remember) a ghost writer hired to write the memoirs of a former Prime Minister played by Pierce Brosnan. But something shady is going on as Ewan is attacked by a motorcyclist right away and the previous writer ended up dead. After the inevitable hookup between writer and PM's wife, I feel asleep. When I woke up I really had no idea what was going on so turned it off.  At that was only like 45 minutes in. The filming was grey, there were always grey clouds or it was raining, which I think is what made me sleepy.  Everyone talked softly and it took soooo long to get to who killed who, if that's even what happened, I really don't know. I have come to the conclusion that I don't like Pierce Brosnan, I didn't even like him as James Bond. I have only liked him as, and maybe they should bring this back....Remington Steele!! Remember that show, y'all?? So, this was pretty blah...2/5 stars.

Then up came 2012 on Encore, or whatever channel that was. Also hated it. John Cusack plays Jackson Curtis a, here it is, WRITER! But again, here Jackson's career is not taking off like he wanted so now he drives a limousine for a big-wig (not really sure what that guy was supposed to do). Then he finds out the world is falling apart thanks to Charlie Frost, played by Woody Harrelson who completely stole the show in my humble opinion. Then it's a big rush to save his kids and ex-wife all while LA is having major earthquakes and Yosemite Valley is going off. I wanted to quit this about 30 minutes in when the ex-wife and her new husband are shopping and he turns to her and says something like "I feel like something's coming between us" then lo and behold an earthquake rips the grocery store in two and they end up opposite sides of the chasm. *big sigh* "I can't take this, can we turn it off now?" The Hubs: "No watch, it get's better" - then he promptly fell asleep.

I promptly turned it off once snoring could be heard coming from the couch. I read.
1/5 stars (the special effects did save it)

Lastly and leastly, Repo Men. Remy, played by Jude Law, is a repo man. But instead of repoing your fine Italian leather sofa or Beemer he comes after your *gasp* organs! He works for a company that puts in the organs then when you can't keep up the monthly payments - knock, knock there's Remy. He's making good money but his wife wants him to quit as he's out at all hours and it's a pretty dangerous job, after all. He thinks it over, tells his partner (who is also his BFF) that he wants to quit, goes on one last score and that's where things go awry. He ends up with an artificial part but now has a conscience (these repo men are just really killers). He can't keep up repoing and falls behind on payments. His marriage falls apart. But don't worry he finds another love (so quickly too) in a singer who has like 10 artificial parts. Never far behind Remy is his partner, played by Forest Whitaker and good I might add, who wants to collect. "A jobs a job".

Through flashbacks you find out that Remy had dreams of becoming a writer. In the present his new girlfriend finds a typewriter and gives it to him. You see him pounding on throughout the movie. Expect when he uses it to kill someone. Yowza! The ending ends in fighting, blood and near death as Remy is trying to get him and his girlfriend out of the system. Then.....well, I don't want to give it away. Let's just say there is some foreshadowing which I should've picked up on right away. I liked it in a way because I like futuristic movies in which the world is full of technology and stuff like Surrogates or The Fifth Element*(a fave) and doesn't look like a Mad Max film. But other than that, meh. Let's say 3/5 stars.

See? All writers. I wanna be a writer, working on a novel right now. But really bloggers, raise your hand if you don't want to be a writer!
That many, huh?!

I've felt that I haven't being paying attention to my book, I'm almost done in fact (it's almost like I don't want it to end - because what's next?!). So maybe the Universe was telling me to get back to it. Right?
Well, I like it... :)

Are you writing something? Does blogging (or life) keep you from it? Are you not going as fast as you would like or are you right on track?
Inquiring minds (read: me!) want to know!!
But more importantly, what was I wearing while watching these flicks? Or, more accurately, what was I wearing as I was writing about watching?

jacket: Rayure/handmedown/free
blouse: Express/friendsyardsale/$.50
slacks: Body by victoria/(same)friendsyardsale/$1
heels: Carvela/handmedown/free
TOTAL:$1.50

No rhyme or reason today for the choosing other than that I was going to do the Inspiration Monday but my fave jeans were dirty, soooo...slacks it is.

linking up with the Color Brigade today

Wanted to jazz it up a bit so threw this leopard print heels on. I like that the pant covers it a bit so I don't feel so conspicuous.

What am I doing here? Have no idea, trying to mix things up a bit. And what's up with my neck?! Remind me not to do that again!

got this pretty little bracelet for mother's day.
Has come to my attention that I have perpetual bed head. Doesn't matter how many pins or much gel I put in my hair, something always sticks up!  Think I'm going to have to learn to embrace it and work with it instead of fighting it. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" or something like that.

Oh, and that in the above photo I  kinda look like one of these guys: you guess which one:


hmmm...thanks *said the mom sarcastically*

I leave you with a movie that I'm uber-excited to go see! (I've had my eye out for James McAvoy since Wanted (another fave) plus I just really really like the X-Men)




relax,
paulina

* both had Bruce Willis...hmmm. I think Hollywood has it wrong on what women really want to see - but that's another post for another day. What are your thoughts on movies lately?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

French Food Files: Potage Crécy aka Carrot Soup

I have this big beautiful French cookbook.


I've never used it.

Yesterday I cracked it open, came across this recipe


And decided to serve dinner french style - one dish at a time. I've done this before and it's actually pretty fun, it makes dinner last a little longer and, for some reason, I feel stuffed after eating this way more than if everything was on the same plate.

Today I'm  participating in Everyday Tastes linking party called It's a Keeper. Since the first posting I have also found Delicious Dishes hosted by It's a Blog Party and Friday Potluck hosted by EKat's Kitchen. I look forward to checking out these new sites, participating in the parties and coming across new and exciting recipes!

Oh, by the way...I'll be focusing on french food for the rest of the month and trying out two other recipes from the book - stay tuned!

Potage Crécy
courtesy France The Beautiful Cookbook
adapted by me!

2 oz butter
1 onion - finely chopped
2 leeks - whites only, thinly sliced
2 qts water
2 lbs carrots - peeled and cut into slices
salt and pepper - to taste
1/3 cup long grain rice - or 1-2 potatoes
6 tablespoons heavy cream

total: $5 - had everything but carrots, leeks and cream.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Melt 1/2 the butter in a heavy saucepan, then add the onions and leeks and cook until golden.


The produce store did not have leeks so.....I improvised and used green onions. I sliced the white part, with a little green and added 6 (small!) cloves of garlic (finely chopped).

After the onions etc, are golden add the water.


Bring to a boil then add the carrots.


Cook 30 minutes on low heat or until carrots are softened.

Then transfer to a food processor (or in my case blender) and blend until mixture is creamy.


Put back in pot, bring back to a boil then add the rice or potatoes. If using potatoes, peel and chop into small pieces. (I only used 1 medium sized potato).

Cook until potato (or rice) is softened (or cooked). Then stir in rest of butter and the cream. Serve immediately.


Taste: The first couple of spoonfuls were very earthy and it tasted a lot like potato soup. After it sat for a bit the cream and butter blended in and then it was very creamy but light. A perfect summer soup actually. The whole fam liked this except for Picky Pants but she did eat it with only a little complaint (hey, that's an improvement!) I took a census and the verdict is: It's a keeper!!

Then The Hubs made barbequed hamburgers, seasoned with a dash of soy sauce, red pepper flakes and a dash of Baby Ray's barbeque sauce.


Yummy! (we added tomato, pickle, ketchup & mustard)

After the soup the burgers were very savory and juicy, everyone liked 'em!

Then we had barbequed corn on the cob. The Hubs put a pat of butter on each cob before wrapping in tinfoil and throwing it in on the 'que.


Again, success!! (salt and pepper and more butter to taste) After the savory burgers this was salty and a perfect compliment.

Last course was good 'ol chocolate pudding which The Hubs had made earlier then refrigerated.


ok, ok...tastes better than it looks.

This is a fun way to do dinner and it slows the pace down a bit.

I like trying new recipes, I like it when nothing has burned but even better....I love it when the kids eat it all up!

relax,
paulina

p.s. phew...that's a lot of parties...what can I say, I'm a sociable girl!! (Ha!) If you like to cook or do crafts check out these new links :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Two blogs with one post

Today I'm going to try and kill two birds (no pun intended - you'll see why later) with one blog spot.

If you're reading this then you probably know that today was EBEW. The theme for this month was (is?) florals.

I can count on one hand finger the number of floral items I have. In fact, if anything I normally try to stay as far away from floral print as I can. The Hubs likes flowers but all the stuff he points out when we (eeek!!) happen to be shopping together reminds me of my grandma so I just think "What does he know?!?"
(I would never say that out loud <gasp!>)

When I found out May's theme was on EBEW I knew that I could no longer say non to florals. On a recent trip to Goodwill I found this dress (read about it here) and saved it for today.

Florals | Everybody, Everywear

dress: faithlovehappiness/goodwill/6
cardi: oldnavy/same/3
jacket: prague/ebay/10
shoes: dollhouse/ross/13
bag: phoenix concert/los angeles/10
TOTAL: $42


It's red (obvs) with white flowers. While looking through the dresses for the perfect one, I could hear all the other girls grumbling about size, color and selection. I stood there for like 2-3 minutes riffling through and came across this beauty. Perfect size, length and color..everything I wanted (if only everything in life was this easy!) held it up to make sure of fit (I don't try on) and sauntered out of there with head held high leaving bad looks in my wake.


One little teensy problem. The belt is attached in the back so no adjusting or removing, the best I could do was remove it from those little string hoops.


Hmmm...may have to cut those....

"What's up with the jean jacket?" you ask. Well....this weeks inspiration monday from Two Birds (get it now? hehehe!!) was Nicole Richie and this look:

via two birds
So, see??  Two linky parties with one post!!



Love when that happens!

To make it me, I added a cardi and brogues. Adore these shoes, so comfy and soft and the right price (13!).


 "What's up with the bag?" you ask.  Oh, that 'ol thing? Just a li'l something I picked up at a Phoenix concert, I believe this one was from Los Angeles when I saw them at the Wiltern. I got tired of my old purse and switched to this for the time being.


not my vid..I was sooo far away at this one..it was my first time seeing them. The energy...their energy...their music live was amazing!! Never again was I that far away!!

relax,
paulina

p.s. if you're from EBEW check out two birds; if you're from two birds check out Everybody Everywhere for more fun!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bloggers do it Better: White-out

I made it on time to the second edition of Bloggers Do It Better hosted by Kristina over at Pretty Shiny Sparkly.

This time around it's all about white.


I actually have a lot of white. And red, black and grey. No fun prints. Nothing with "a bird on it". My closet is blah, boring and screaming out for fun and excitement!

But....at least with this challenge I was able to drag out some items I haven't worn at all/in a long time.



Like this blouse. It was a hand-me-down from my Mother-in-law. It's sheer with a ruffle front and a drop waist with a little string belt type thing. I wasn't sure how to style it because of the drop waist.


I do like how this came together though. To make it me I rolled up the legs and added grey boots. Also went with gold and silver bangles.

pants: requirements/ross/10
blouse: handmedown/free
boots: speigel/thrift/10
various bangles
TOTAL: $20 (ish)
I think I did this a lot better than the colorblocking....lol! (at myself!) Go ahead and click that link if you wanna laugh!! ;)

Truth: I only wore this outfit for only like a quarter of the day. In the morning I was doing some gardening and since white is not conducive to soil, mud and weeds I wore yoga pants. After really getting dressed for the day, I ended up changing again sometime between picking up the kids and cooking dinner.


thinking you can cook in white?!? oh no you didn't!!
White is not the best choice for running after three kids, especially when my Little Monster is a sticky monster. White is not the best choice for cooking, especially when I happen to spill, splash and splatter.
But do you know what print is favorable to all the above??

Something with a bird on it!!

via gojane.com
I have become obsessed. I need this dress or something very similar...like NOW!!

Don't call me today....I'm going shopping!!!

relax,
paulina

ps. blooper alert:

high heel boots + hidden holes = stumbling and bumbling