February 28, 2011

Bring on the Glamour! Oscars 2011

Mila Kunis, Getty Images
Surprise surprise it's an Oscars fashion post. I live for the glamour of the Acadamy Awards! My favorite look from last night was without a doubt Mila Kunis. She wasn't even nominated but she stole the show in her sexy lavender and lace.
Mandy Moore & Jennifer Lawrence, Getty Images
Rounding out my top 3 gowns were Mandy Moore (in the nude look) and Jennifer Lawrence in her super sleek Calvin Klein. Anne Hathaway looked fabulous the entire night. It seems like she looks good in everything. Here's a slideshow of her different looks from last night. What gown was your favorite from last night's show?

February 26, 2011

Red Red Wine

Finishing my wine at Taverna
I never really drank wine until I spent a semester in Italy. When we were there, a liter of wine was cheaper than a bottle of water so we figured it was the most budget-friendly way to stay hydrated! There was a place where we lived in Perugia that you could get a huge jug of house wine and refill it weekly at a local wine store. I wish we had that in America! But we do have some good and affordable wines here and while I'm by no means a wine expert these are some of my current favorite go-to red wines.
  • Menage a Trois Red- This table wine is usually between $9-$12 and it's very drinkable. Everyone likes it.
  • Becker Vineyards Iconoclast Cabernet- This is a favorite local Texas wine. It usually costs $10 and if you are in Austin I'd highly reccomend taking a trip to this winery in Stonewall. It's beautiful and fun! 
  • Llano Shiraz- LOVE this wine. It's also from Texas ($10) and it's great on its own without food since it's sort of sweet (but not sugary). 
  • Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Blue Label Merlot- I like this wine with pasta. It's from California and it's around $15. It makes a nice gift too.
  • Althos Las Hormigas Malbec- This Argentinian Malbec is sometimes hard to find and it's usually around $13. If you can find it snatch it up because it's so delicious. I first had it when I was in Spain. Tasty! 
What are some of your favorite affordable red wines? I'm always looking for new ones to try! 

February 25, 2011

Favorite Friday

Hey everyone! I'm gearing up for a weekend of hardly any plans. It's good to have a relaxing weekend with no commitments since it leaves room for sleeping in, relaxing, and spontaneity.
Image from Flickr
Did you know that there are pecan trees in Austin? I didn't either but my boyfriend has one outside his house which means TONS of pecans. We made a pie a couple of weeks ago but this weekend we're thinking maybe pecan bars and pecan pancakes.
Image from Cupcakes & Cashmere
Homemade Girl Scout Cookies 
Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere posted a recipe for homemade thin mints on her blog this week and they look delicious. I'm definitely adding these to my "must try" recipe list!  
Enchanted Space
Finally I adore everything about this photo that I found on Pinterest. It reminds me of a fairy tale! The photo is from this blog which is a cute design site to look through. 

February 24, 2011

What About Jeggings?

Whitney Port cute in jeggings
So... about jeggings. I know they can be scary and seriously unflattering but in my opinion if you find the right pair you may just fall in love. If you have curves you'll love the stretch and the skinny leg is perfect under boots. Don't get the ones with painted on pockets/elastic waists! A thicker denim with lots of stretch is the most flattering. Here's an idea of how to wear them without looking like a tween- with boots, an oversized tee or tank and a cute jacket.

February 23, 2011

Homemade Pizzas

I'm excited to share one of my favorite go-to recipes with you today! It's pizza (who doesn't love that?) and you make it from scratch yourself. If you're thinking that sounds like too much work then you're mistaken because this recipe comes together in about 30 minutes. It's a thin crust pizza so the dough doesn't need time to rise and the toppings are up to your taste/creativity. I probably make this once a week because it's versatile and delicious. The pizzas in the photo are a potato pizza and a veggie one with sun-dried tomatoes (they sort of look like bugs in the picture!)

Recent homemade pizzas
Thin Crust Pizza
Adapted from this recipe.

  • .25 oz. pkt. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup 110 degree water
  • 1 3/4 cups bread flour (all purpose works but bread flour works best)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Cheese, sauce, & toppings of your choice

To make:
  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in water and allow to rest for 8 minutes. Meanwhile in a large separate bowl, combine the flour and salt.
  3. Pour the yeast mixture over the flour mixture and mix with a heavy spoon.
  4. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes.
  5. Working from the edges to the center, press dough into a 12" circle.
  6. Place the dough on a lightly greased pizza pan before adding toppings. 
  7. Brush the dough lightly with olive oil and season with Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes & garlic salt. Add sauce, cheese and toppings of your choice.
  8. Bake the pizza in a 500 degree oven for 8-12 minutes, or until edges are golden.

February 22, 2011

5 Cool Kitchen Gadgets

We all have our staple kitchen gadgets that we use all the time- microplane is probably my favorite. But have you ever gone into Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table and looked at all the random stuff available? Some of it is just ridiculous (a banana slicer... who needs that?)  but some of them look useful and interesting. Here are 5 seemingly useful tools that you probably never knew existed.
Bench Scrape: $7.95
Bench Scrape: 
This one is a Rachael Ray original and it's pretty clever. It quickly and easily scoops your chopped foods so you can transfer them to the pan.
Herb Mill: $19.95
Microplane Herb Mill:
According to the website this tool "finely chops fresh herbs without tearing or blemishing delicate leaves." Sounds helpful!
Pot Clip: $6.95
Utensil Pot Clip:
This took clips your spoon to the pot or pan you're working with and eliminates the need for a messy spoon rest.
Onion Goggles: $22
Onion Goggles: 
I need these! If you're sensitive to cutting onions these goggles protect your eyes from the vapors that make you cry. It's worth looking silly for a few minutes to save your mascara.
Peeler: $14.95
Tri-Blade Peeler: 
This is three peelers in one making it a great tool for peeling thick or thin skins and it also juliennes!

February 21, 2011

Work Out Like a Dancer

After all the food and parties lately it's time to focus on fitness! I recently started going to a new studio in Austin called Dancer's Shape. This is a barre workout meaning it's derived from ballet, Pilates and yoga. My first class was much tougher that I expected! The workout consists of little movements that really get your muscles shaking and burning. These classes are expensive (I'm on a Groupon-type deal) but there are similar workout DVDs you can get or try these moves from FitSugar- we have done these exact movements in my Dancer's Shape classes. So far I really like the classes and they're a nice compliment to my running & other random workouts. Would you try the barre?

February 20, 2011

My Signature Drink

In honor of all the birthday celebrations I'm posting a drink recipe today. This is my favorite drink: the Dirty Shirley! My friends and I make these often and I like to order them when I'm out. Tasty and pink. Cheers!
Dirty Shirley
Dirty Shirley
  • 1 shot vodka (we <3 Titos since it's from ATX) 
  • 6 ounces of club soda, Sprite, or for optimal results Diet Cherry 7UP 
  • A splash of grenadine
  • Maraschino cherries 

To make:
1. Stir vodka & soda together, add grenadine & garnish with a cherry.

February 19, 2011

We Are All Born Superstars

Today is my 26th birthday and I think this is how I'll spend my day.
Quacks b-day cupcakes from last year :-)

  • Shopping- Received a gift card to Forever 21 and need new earrings (as I mentioned).
  • Snacking- Frozen yogurt could be the replacement for cupcakes this year. Juicytart is my favorite! Unless someone wants to take me to Quacks in which case a cupcake will be had.
  • Going out with friends- Isn't that what birthdays are all about? So excited to see everyone tonight!

That's about all I've got today. I woke up with this song in my head. I guess I was "Born a Superstar" 26 years ago today!

PS- Happy 1 year birthday to my car, Lemon, which I got 1 year ago today!
Lemon Love!

February 18, 2011

Favorite Friday: Birthday Time!

This weekend is my birthday so it's extra exciting! Here are some things I'm loving this week.
Delicious dressing
Brianna's Ginger Mandarin Salad Dressing
This stuff is sooo tasty. It makes me want to eat salads all the time which is great! Their Asiago Caesar dressing is really yummy as well. Look for this brand at your grocery store & enjoy.

Elephant Ring Holder
My mom gave this to me for my birthday. I have a thing for elephants and I think he looks great in my bathroom. I'd post the link to it but she got it at a local Austin store- so go local everyone!

I wish this mail was edible!
Cake Mail
Yesterday I got a piece of cake in the mail from my sister. Who gets a piece of cake in the mail? It was so unexpected and funny. You can order cake mail for your friends from this Etsy shop. Creative!

February 17, 2011

Love-ly Dinner Party

Valentine roses
I threw a dinner party at my apartment on Valentine's Day. There were 8 of us total and to keep things simple I asked each couple to bring a dish and some wine. The appetizer was bruschetta and spinach artichoke dip, then there was a Caesar salad. I served the main course (baked shrimp scampi with pasta) and dessert was red velvet cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries.
Waiting for guests to arrive
I wanted the evening to feel more special than the average get together so to class it up I used white tablecloths, red place mats, and tea light candles. The amazing flowers that my boyfriend brought me added to the display as well.
Table Settings 
View of the table 
Cupcakes & strawberries
The idea of throwing a dinner party for 8 can be overwhelming. To ease the stress and save money I borrowed dishes from my parents, a table/stools from friends, and I made the place mats and napkins myself. I used candy as a party favor and decorated with fresh flowers & confetti. All in all it was a very memorable and fun evening.

February 16, 2011

Interesting Earrings

Recently I've found myself in need of some new earrings. Mine have either broken or I lost one, etc. I wear earrings every day and I think they really add something to your face and outfit. When I did some online shopping for new earrings I came up with a couple clear themes: interesting hoops and pink. Pink is a natural because it's my favorite color and I just like the twist of the traditional hoop. "You know that I'm not allowed to wear hoop earrings, right?" haha OK enough Mean Girls- here are some picks.

February 15, 2011

Fashion Week Favorite: Monique Lhuillier

Some of my favorite Lhuillier Fall 2011 looks
Images from New York Magazine
I haven't been keeping up with New York Fashion Week obsessively but I look at recaps from the shows once in a while. Today I came across the Monique Lhuillier Fall 2011 Ready To Wear collection and I'm in love. The looks have classic old Hollywood glamour and sophistication. These are the kind of outfits that make me wish I had a reason to own a full out ball gown and wear it around. Unfortunately it's looking more like a jeans day here in Austin but if you want to fantasize with me check out the full collection here.

February 14, 2011

With Love

Happy Valentine's Day lovers! I'm having a dinner party this evening for some friends and I'll be sure to post a recap on here later. Today I bring you a most-loved recipe that is sure to win over your sweetheart. The Baked Brownie. If you've heard of this and haven't tried it then you are missing out! These brownies are amazing and once again I urge you to USE GOOD CHOCOLATE! It makes all the difference. These are super indulgent and divine. My boyfriend goes crazy for them. Enjoy!
Image from Tender Crumb

The Baked Brownie
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa
  • 11 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 pieces
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 5 eggs at room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
To make:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13 glass or light-colored metal baking pan.
  2. In a medium bow, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa.
  3. Melt the chocolate, butter, instant espresso powder, stirring occasionally, until completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat. Whisk in the sugars. Add 3 eggs to the mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Sprinkle in the flour mixture, and fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes (note: my brownies were done in 25 minutes), rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.
  5. When cool, cut the brownies into squares. These keep tightly wrapped for up to three days.

February 13, 2011

Austin Pick: La Patisserie

Assortment of macarons at La Patisserie
This past week I finally made it over to La Patisserie, a new bakery located at 602 W. Annie St. in South Austin. I heard about their delicious pastries and macarons. Have you ever had a macaron? They are little melt in your mouth morsels of sweetness- a must try! La Patisserie has a variety of French goodies including croissants & eclairs and they also have coffee.  It's located in an old house in typical South Austin style. I'd like to go back and try more things but I can vouch for the macarons which would be a great last minute treat for your valentine if you're here in Austin!

February 12, 2011

Cross Body Chain Bags

I am a big fan of the cross-body bag. It's perfect for going out because it's small but you don't have to worry about keeping up with it or holding it all the time. I think black is classic for this type of bag and I also like the chain going across since it adds some flair.

February 11, 2011

Favorite Friday: Be My Valentine

Friday is here again and this week it's all about valentines. I'm one of those girls who loves Valentine's Day. I figure this is largely due to my weakness for all things pink, red, lacy, sweet and/or heart shaped. Seriously how do people dislike v-day? Anyway here are some of my valentine picks around the web. XOXO!
Urban Outfitters: spoon $8, glasses $14, t-shirt $34
Urban Outfitters has a cute valentine section on their site- these are my favorites. How fun is the wooden spoon? Love it.

Image from Ban.do
Ban.do has these shoe clips that add a pop of glitter and love to any pair of shoes you have- fun and cute don't you think?

Image from thebitesite.com
You really can't have Valentine's Day without some chocolate. If you've never made molten chocolate cakes you'll be surprised how simple, elegant & delicious they are. Easy recipe and instructions here. Make them for your significant other/roommate/friends and they will feel LOVE. <3

February 10, 2011

Hooray for Hummus!

Hummus is one of those rare foods that is good and good for you. I'm a big fan of dipping veggies (usually baby carrots) in hummus as a snack. The dip can be expensive if you buy it at the store and the quality varies. There is a great kind available at the Austin farmer's market called Grandma's from the Mediterranean Chef . If you are a big hummus fan you may save money by making it yourself. I can't tell you how many hummus recipes I've tried and most of them just weren't good. But I finally found my go-to recipe and I'm sharing it with you today. This dip is a tasty snack and it's great at parties too. Enjoy!

Image from Edible Moments

Adapted from Edible Moments

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (usually 1.5 lemons)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic (pressed through a garlic press)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups of canned chick peas, drained and rinsed

To make:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree. If it seems thick, add a little more olive oil until you reach the desired consistency. Garnish with paprika.

February 9, 2011

More Pink?

Making pink buttercream in my pink mixer
Without a doubt pink is my favorite color. One of the greatest things about having my own apartment is I can make it as pink as I'd like!  I have pink mostly in the kitchen (mixer, blender, towels, canisters, etc.) and I just found this photo of a pink fridge. Now I'm thinking maybe my kitchen could actually use more pink! SMEG retro fridges go for about $2,000. Do you love it?
Photo from http://honeynfizz.blogspot.com/

February 8, 2011

Beauty Fav: CoverGirl Gloss Balm

Source: coolspotters.com via Lala on Pinterest
I'm currently slightly obsessed with this new lip gloss from CoverGirl. It's part of their new NatureLuxe  line and hopefully it's here to stay. When I put it on this weekend one of my friends had it too and we squealed about how great it is. It's really lightweight like a chap-stick but it adds a touch of pretty color. I have the shade Peony which is a subtle everyday red. You can get it at any drugstore for about $6.50- I want to get more colors soon!

PS- Have you been to Pinterest.com?  I'm just getting into it but it's really neat.  Check it out and if you join my name is ooolalablog so we can be friends.

February 7, 2011

Keeping Warm With Tomato Soup

It's been pretty cold here in Texas and if it's cold in Texas it must be even colder everywhere else. One great way to keep cozy is to make soup. I love this tomato soup recipe and so does everyone else who has tried it. Once you make this you won't ever want tomato soup out of a can again! This recipe is a great one for Meatless Monday and can even be prepared vegan. Enjoy it with a grilled cheese, baguette, or a fresh salad.
Comforting Homemade Soup
Hearty Tomato Soup
Adapted from this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis

  • 2 tablespoons butter (if you want to make this vegan, use olive oil instead)
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

To make:
  1. In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Add the beans, tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, sprig of rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Break up the tomatoes a little using a wooden spoon.
  2. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, covered.
  3. Puree the soup in a blender in batches, being careful to remove and discard the bay leaf. Return the soup to the pot and keep warm over low heat. Season with salt and pepper.

February 6, 2011

Half Moon Manicure

Image from Cherry Blossom Girl
I love this look and I've tried it before but I ended up messing my nails up. But good news The Cherry Blossom Girl has a tutorial on her site and it reminds me to try again.  Beautiful... Just think of all the color combos!

February 5, 2011

Happy Nutella Day!

Image from Flickr
Woah! Today is World Nutella Day! Nutella is a delicious hazelnut/chocolate spread and it was a major food group for me and my roommates when we lived in Italy (we even frosted a cake with it). Nutella is amazing on a sandwich, spread on fruit, in baking, with crackers, or a spoonful on its own. But my favorite is probably Nutella and banana crepes. Here's a huge list of recipes to make using Nutella. Enjoy!

February 4, 2011

Favorite Friday: Superbowl Edition

Superbowl weekend is here! The game is in Dallas and I'm supposed to head up there depending on weather- not to go to the actual game but for my sister's Superbowl party. I'm a little sad that football season is ending but these favorites are helping!
Love dip! Image from Homesick Texan
Homesick Texan is always a good site for Texas-style recipes. A great game day one is Love Dip (like you may have had from Central Market).  Recipe here.
Image from Victoria's Secret
Support your team even after the season ends! Victoria's Secret PINK has the cutest NFL team gear. The only problem is they don't have all the teams (where are the Colts?!).
Image from Nike
Finally if it's warm enough for you to venture outside for some football of your own you may want to check out these new shoes from Nike. I don't typically like black sneakers but for some reason I think these look cool. The new Nike Free TR Fit Women's Training shoes are supposed to be barefoot-like.

Enjoy the game and have a fun and safe Superbowl weekend!

Austin SNOW DAY!

Taken from the Frost Building in Austin
Image via Tocquigny
It snowed this morning in Austin and most places are closed including UT & a lot of businesses in town. Last night I made cupcakes for an office party which is obviously not happening now. That means I have a snow day PLUS cupcakes for breakfast. Gotta love that! Happy Friday everybody, a FF post is coming later.

February 3, 2011

Floppy Hats

Vanessa Hudgens & her hat
I'm not usually a hat person and I'm not really sure why. Lately I've been seeing more stylish hats and kinda wanting one. Right now Asos has a bunch of really cute hats for under $50. What do you think? Can I pull this look off?

February 2, 2011

That's Bananas

Most of us can agree on bananas. They're a good, healthy snack by themselves and a yummy complement to peanut butter, nutella, smoothies & more. I usually have some around my apartment but what do you do with them when they start to go bad? Personally I only like to eat the fruit when it is under-ripe to ripe.  Once they start getting brown the texture grosses me out.  But not to waste!
Here are some good ideas for brown bananas:
1. Cut the banana into small chunks, put it in a bag & freeze it. Next time you want to make a smoothie throw in the frozen banana pieces with some yogurt, juice & and other fruits and blend. Or another tasty option is to put the frozen pieces in the blender with some peanut butter & milk- this is like a "milkshake" with less calories since no ice cream is involved.
2. Mash the banana up and add it to plain oatmeal in the morning with some nuts, brown sugar & a touch of cinnamon to make "banana bread" oatmeal.
3. Bake real banana bread or banana muffins- this is what I did over the weekend using the recipe below. It takes about 40 minutes total & it makes your apartment smell fantastic!  These with coffee on a Saturday morning are perfection.  Enjoy!
Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
Adapted from this recipe
I love the kitschiness of the chocolate chips but if you're not feeling chocolate for breakfast sub in some chopped nuts.

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (if you use Greek yogurt you may have to add some milk to the batter if it seems too thick) 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped nuts)

To make:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tin with paper liners.  The recipe makes 10 muffins.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. If the mixture seems too dry add a splash of milk. 
  4. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips (or nuts).
  5. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.