23 September 2009


in serious need of stress relief, preferrably in the above form

hello, my lovelies! yes, i am still alive, but just barely. in the past week i have:

*survived the atlanta monsoon
*spent 5 hours stuck in the atlanta airport due to said monsoon whilst scaring myself silly reading in cold blood
*had my version of a celebrity sighting {stephen drucker, editor-in-chief of house beautiful and, more importantly, frequent dinner guest of ina garten. degree of separation between me and the barefoot contessa has now been reduced to one. score.}
*received a kiss from my oldest, dearest guy friend. i was completely caught off guard and am now dealing with the corresponding feelings of WTF.
*had a less than 18 hour trip to d.c., complete with speeding ticket on the way home. not awesome. {drivers of interstates 66 and 81, beware: we counted 9 cops on our 3 hour drive.}
*needed to restrain myself from throttling tg about 211 times.

and it's only wednesday. i also have to find the time this week to interview some 30-odd students for office jobs, figure out a training schedule for the ones who are hired, prepare a 45-minute presentation to be shown twice on saturday, get ready for our massive on-campus volunteer events this weekend {starting bright and early friday morning and ending last-man-standing during the wee hours of saturday night/sunday morning}, oh yes, and engage in a screaming match with the dry cleaners who have apparently lost THREE of my fall j.crew wool herringbone pants and several work blouses. and i leave for new york a week from tomorrow.

so, as you can see, i am a bit of a mess right now. i promise to get my act together some time in the near future and catch up on all your posts and comments and write something of interest to share. hope you all are having much more enjoyable weeks!

15 September 2009

eye make-up 101

i need your help. DESPERATELY. i bought this new eye-liner that i really like except for one thing: by the end of the day, it has totally migrated all over the place and i look like i have these terrible undereye circles. not. cute.

i used to wear liquid liner, so this wasn't a problem. but i decided to try this new soft pencil. i love the color and how much easier it is to put on, but it just will not stay put. i don't put it on my lower eye, so that tells you how low it goes during the day.

i do not enjoy looking like a racoon or even worse, one of those girls who goes crazy with the eye makeup but doesn't really know how to apply it so can someone PLEASE give me some suggestions on how to fix this? pretty please? i'll be ever so grateful.

10 September 2009

i don't care which side of the aisle you're on...

...our first lady is stunning. love the pink, love the bow, love the sparkly brooch. J'ADORE her gorgeous smile.

09 September 2009

what's cooking wednesdays

happy hump day, darlings! this what's cooking wednesday brings you not one, but TWO, delicious recipes. i have mentioned my undying love for cooking light in previous wcw's and this week is no exception. really, if you don't subscribe, you should. it's worth every penny. this month's issue features the new and improved magazine layout and a whole host of insanely delicious looking recipes. i made two of them already, both AMAZING. click the links below the pictures for the original recipes. i've noted my belle adjustments below.

crispy skin salmon with fiery asian slaw

*if you don't like things spicy, i would highly recommend using only one teaspoon of chile sauce.
*instead of a tablespoon of olive oil, i used two teaspoons (don't use extra-virgin! the flavor is too strong) and a teaspoon of sesame oil. i loooooooove sesame oil and it's perfect in this dish.
*the cooking time in the recipe is for rare. i like mine medium rare, so i added a minute to each side.

fresh tomato, sausage, and pecorino pasta

*i HATE touching raw meat. the thought of taking sausage out of casings is nauseating. kroger sells ground sweet italian sausage in a package {like you'd buy ground beef}, so i bought that. all you have to do is dump it in the pan and break up with a spoon. much more mani-friendly.
*i didn't have pecorino on hand, so i used parmesan. still delicious.
*i used cavatappi instead of penne. the shape makes me happy. it's what ina uses for her mac-and-cheese.

buon appetito!

08 September 2009

help needed!

hello, lovelies! hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend. i was one of the three americans working yesterday....ah, the joys of working for a private school.... so i've enjoyed living out my labor day vicariously through your posts.

i desperately need your help! one of my darling friends, t, is hosting a potluck breakfast party saturday morning before our community wine festival. i want to make something savory, along the lines of a breakfast casserole or something. it needs to have broad appeal {the guestlist includes new parents, over-the-hill frat guys, and my favorite gal pals} and it needs to be portable. no souffles or quiches. i have poured over my cookbooks and several websites and come up with nothing.

i KNOW that one of you {or more likely all of you!} has a fabulous brunch recipe that fits the bill and that you're just DYING to share with me. if so, PLEASE post the recipe in the comments and/or e-mail it to me at scg2b@virginia.edu

thanks in advance and happy tuesday!

04 September 2009

bad belle

i've been at work for less than 30 minutes. an e-mail from the new ann taylor pops into my inbox. buy one new full-price item, get one 50% off.

5 minutes later:

i do actually think i can fully justify these purchases. in the next two months i have 3 work dinners in new york city, two in d.c., one in atlanta, and two major on-campus events. these items are going to get a major work-out this fall, and as our darling legally blonde mel points out, it is ALL about cost per wear math.
right? RIGHT???

perfect start to the weekend

so last night was really lovely.

first, my new mattress was finally delivered.  all i have to say is, money well spent!  now if only target would get on the ball delivering my new bed...

second, my little sister came to visit {a long story for another time, but i'm always happy to see her, no matter the circumstances}.  we made this for dinner.  it was the perfect combination of summer ingredients {fresh tomato, basil, and mozzarella} and fall texture {mmm...warm, creamy risotto}. i now have my culinary goal for this fall/winter: mastering the art of the perfect risotto. even though our meal was good, it wasn't outstanding.  i just don't quite have the hang of it.  if you have any good risotto recipes, please send them my way!

last, college. football.  need i say more?

i hope you all have a wonderful long weekend and squeeze in these last few days of white shoes!!

03 September 2009

excited doesn't even begin to describe...


when i tell you this brought a tear to my eye, that is not an exaggeration. at. all.

also, see the beautiful old stadium in the opening shots? it's still there {just not used for varsity sports anymore} and i lived in the neighborhood right behind it my last 2 years at the university {see all those pretty big old brick homes? yeah, i went to a freaking awesome school}.

02 September 2009

what's cooking wednesdays

in honor of the arrival of fall weather here in small town, va {please, god, let it be here to stay!} and the kick-off of college football season tomorrow night {hooray!}, i am passing on to you the recipe that i am known for above all others.

i first discovered this recipe my third year of college and have been forced literally to make them at least 10 times every fall. if i am a houseguest {which i frequently am during football season}, i am expected to bring these as a hostess gift. last year we timed it: i arrived friday at 6pm. the entire pan was gone by 3am.

consider yourself warned: if you make these for company, you will be expected to make them time and again. if you make them for yourself, you will eat the entire pan.

pumpkin squares
Makes 24
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can pumpkin puree (do NOT get canned pumpkin pie mix!!!)
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (also good with dark chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool completely in pan.

Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares. Restrain yourself from eating every last one of these.
*these are originally a martha stewart recipe. i first made them according to the directions, and then made a few adjustments. no offense to martha, but i think mine are greatly improved :)

Nothing says fall to me like a Saturday afternoon with a pan of these and a TV schedule full of football. LET'S GO HOOS!