Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Fab Finds

I like to judge stores on how good their sales are.

This isn't because I'm cheap, (I will splurge when necessary), but I love nothing better than finding a really great item during a really great sale, and if a store offers really crappy sales, then I'm just not interested, frankly. 

So, really what I'm trying to say is this: I love J.CREW. I've had my fair share of their clothing over the years and they have truly held up over time. And, I am happy to report that basically everything I have purchased from J.CREW over the last 5 years has been on sale.

I decided to check out their sale a few days ago and in usual J.CREW fashion (tee hee), there are some beautiful items on sale right now that are hard to pass up. 

This cashmere sweater, in the color 'Turquoise Pool' was originally $79.50 and is now on sale for $39.99

I think this yellow shift dress is delightful. It was originally $148.00 and is now on sale for $69.99. Not bad!



I like this top so much that I picked one up for myself! I think it would be super sure tucked into an A-line skirt. Originally $45.00 and marked down to $29.99.
This is truly a fraction of the items they have on there. I highly suggest checking it out, if you are so inclined. 

What about you? What stores do you count on for sales? Do tell...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Get. This. Cleaner.

I love me a good cleaning product. 

I'm like Target's dream customer because when I breeze through those automatic sliding doors, I am on the prowl for products that will make my life just a little bit easier.

CUT TO:

INT. BATHROOM - MORNING

Jocelyn leans over the side of her bathtub, wearing faded blue sweatpants and an old 'University of Oregon' tank top. Her auburn hair is pulled back in a sloppy bun and sweat glistens on her forehead as she furiously scrubs the tub's basin. After a final, enthusiastic scour, she pulls away to examine her progress only to find the tub is still not clean. She let's out an exasperated sigh.

FADE OUT

In case you were wondering, that was a little scene for you that closely resembles my general experience cleaning bathtubs. 

I hate it. It's annoying and too much work.

It is the worst chore. Of all the chores. The worst. 

BUT...I have found a little glimmer of hope that I want to share with you.  Here it is:


This is a good, good product. I've never cleaned a tub/shower so quickly in my life. You spray this blue foam all over and then it starts working magic. Somehow it lifts all of the shower/tub griminess and slowly turns white. Once the foam is white, simply wipe with a cloth or scrub gently and then rinse away. Honestly...it does what it says it will. 

And that, my friends, is a little gift from me to you on this fine Tuesday morning. Take care now!

Friday, September 21, 2012

And I'm Feeling Good...

Because it's one of the best auditions I've ever seen...

Because she's only 13...

Because it's a great song...

Because Simon Cowell gives a standing ovation...

...you should watch this clip from the latest X-Factor

I. Love. Her. 

I think you will too. Enjoy! 

 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Love Me Some Famouses


**Warning - this is maybe the most worthless post ever, but I am writing it anyway**

I have a secret talent. Some might even go so far as to call it a gift, but who am I to say, really. Whatever it is, it follows me wherever I go and never ceases to amaze me. Since I know you are likely dying with anticipation, I will divulge. 

I spot famous people. 

I spot them everywhere. In cities all around the place. If they are around, living their lives, I will see them. It's just the way it is. I don't even try to find them - they come to me. 

Okay, that isn't totally true. When I was going to film school in Southern California, I will admit that my senses were particularly heightened whenever a car with blacked-out windows drove by or there were paparazzi lingering, but the majority of my sightings have been completely by chance. As pointless as this "gift" is, it has become something that is a real kick-in-the-pants for me and I enjoy bragging about it. I mean, why not brag about it? If I could sing or tap dance or stick my fist in my mouth, I would brag about that. It just so happens celebrity sightings are my thang.  

So, without further ado (because I know you want to know) here is my list of sightings, in no particular order:

- Ben Affleck
- Justin Timberlake
- Jennifer Aniston (Spotted her 2x, met her 1x. That's a story for another day)
- Gnarls Barkley
- Dakota Fanning
- Matthew Perry (I've spotted him twice)
- Meridith Vieira
- Mariel Hemingway
- Ricky Martin
- Hoda Kotb
- Carson Daly
- Rob Lowe
- Don Johnson
- Jack Osbourne
- Daryl Hannah
- Rosie O'Donnell
- Tommy Lee
- Frances McDormand
- John Malkovich
- John C Reilly
- Shannon Elizabeth
- Terry Hatcher
- Henry Winkler
- Terrence Howard
- Bai Ling
- Catherine Keener
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- All three Lawrence Brothers (y'know..."Whoa!" and Mrs. Doubtfire)
- Jonathan Ross
- Jeff Bridges
- Art Alexakis
- Rob Thomas
- Joan Cusack
- Jason Isaacs
- Lucy Liu
- Lili Taylor
- Trista Sutter
- John Travolta
- Edward Burns
- Lisa Kudrow
- Michael Patrick King
- Tom Hanks

Aaaand...that is about all I can think of now. I know I am missing a few, but oh well. Isn't that kind of a crazy list?? I think so...

To round off the absolute worthlessness of this post, I will say that there are a few people not on my list that I would die to see. I know that, no matter what, I would have a hard time keeping my composure around them. The top three are:

- Leonardo Dicaprio (The LOOOOVE of my life in my teen years)
- Oprah (The Queen of all that is good in the world)
- The Queen of England (Some say she's stuffy. I think she's cool)

So there you have it...my little gift. It might not be prolific. It might not be for the common good. It might not have a single purpose in the entire world, but, it does make me smile. 

Happy Thursday!! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to Make Lavender Honey



I was recently at the house of one of my dear friends, Karla, when she served some delicious cheese and crackers with lavender honey to drizzle on top. It was exquisite. 

Karla is one of the few people I know who loves cheese as much as I do. We are cheese kindred spirits. But this isn't about cheese. It's about honey. Sorry. I'm easily distracted when it comes to fromage.

I loved the lavender honey so much that I decided to try and make some myself. It turns out that it is very simple to make, and with really great results.

In order to get started you will need to make sure you have culinary quality lavender, which means it's been cultivated for human consumption. I bought mine at a local health food store, but you can also find it at many farms, specialty stores or even amazon.com!



Start by heating the honey, on low in a small saucepan until it starts to simmer. Then add the lavender, stir and remove from heat.


Now, you want to add 1/2 tablespoon of lavender for every 1/2 cup of honey. So, if you use a cup of honey, you would use 1 tablespoon of lavender, and so on. 



Pour the warm honey and lavender into a bowl, cover, and allow to just sit, at room temperature, for 24 hours. Aren't you loving how easy this is? 


After 24 hours of the honey and lavender infusing, return to the saucepan and bring to a simmer once again. As soon as it is simmering, remove from heat and pour the honey and lavender through a mesh strainer into a jar.



Allow the jar to cool to room temperature and store the honey in the fridge for 6 - 8 months.  

 My first order of business was getting my fresh lavender honey atop some deliciously stinky blue cheese, served on a rosemary and onion cracker. Uhm...yum. I mean, like, seriously yum. Seriously.


A few other ideas I have stored up for this honey:

- Drizzle on top of homemade pizza with salami and Italian sausage.

- Use to sweeten all kinds of tea, including Chai. I think it would be divine with Chai. 

- Add a little to oatmeal, or any other hot cereal.

- Continue to eat with all kinds of cheese. Duh. 

- Use in a chicken marinade along with some soy sauce, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.

- Would also make great gifts for friends and co-workers around Christmas time. 
  
I really hope that you give this a try. It is so easy and sooo tasty. Enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sisterly Love


Me (left) and my younger sister, Caitlin on the right
I have spent a lot of time lately at my Mom's house, helping her clear out boxes of my, and my siblingschildhood keepsakes. A lot of items have been donated and old artwork recycled, but there are a few items I've found that I cannot part with.

One of these little gems is an essay my sister wrote when she was about 13 or 14. Two things I should note before you read this: 1) She wrote this during a time when we were not getting along very well, and 2) My sister calls me 'Jocie'. 

As soon as I found it, I read it aloud to my sister and were crying with laughter. Here it is:

Jocie's Face
by Caitlin Stott - Per. 3

I never wanted freckles. 

I remember one summer's eve when I spent a whole day outside in the sun. That night I ran to the bathroom and one freckle appeared on my nose. 

"I look like Jocie!" I screamed in disgust. 

Jocie ran in the bathroom to defend herself. As we pressed our faces against the glass, I examined her. 

Her usual light skin was burnt and peeling. Her nose was now smothered in brown from freckles that connected. I remember thinking how ugly she was. 

In middle school Jocelyn hit an awkward stage, gaining weight. Her face got bigger. One day I looked at her face and she had gained weight. She was the ugliest person I'd ever met.

And that was it. End of story. Caitlin had an ugly, freckled sister who had gained weight in middle school. Riveting story - no doubt her teacher was impressed.

Some of you might think I would take offense to finding this, or that my sister was unusually cruel, but neither is true. We tortured each other equally back then but she is truly one of my best friends today and I love her to death. This bratty little essay merely served as a trip down memory lane to a time when we fought over anything and everything. Fortunately now, we can laugh about it in a way that we could not laugh with anyone else. I am sure everyone out there with a sister can relate.

Love you Caitie, you annoying little sister, you!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Beer Rinse For Hair



Back in 5th grade, I had some pretty incredible bangs. And by incredible, I mean horrendous. They went from ear to ear, were far too heavy and framed my face like a brown mop. To make matters worse, I used to get them wet in the morning, and with a fine-toothed comb, flip them over to the side so they were off my forehead and in this weird wave thing. Then I would take my Rave hairspray and mist that bad boy until it was rock hard. It was quite a look. Truly.

When I would shower the next morning, I could actually taste the hairspray in my mouth as water ran down my face. It was bad. 

My lovely Mom, however, never told me how ridiculous I looked. She continued to buy me as much Rave hairspray as I needed and stood by me as she patiently waited for the phase to pass. But, there was one little tip she gave me that I still use to this day.  It was her way of helping me without me really knowing it, which is very important when you are in those abhorrent pre-teen years.

One morning before taking my shower, she handed me a cup of beer. My 5th grade self didn't know what to do with this sudden lapse in my Mom's good parenting/abiding by the law/morals/etc.

"Sweetie - when you get in the shower, get your hair wet and then rinse it with this, let it soak in for a few minutes, and then rinse again. Once it's all out, wash with shampoo and conditioner," she said.

"Uhm...okay," I replied, then promptly got to it. 

The result? Shiny, voluminous, clean hair. It totally worked. It got rid of the built-up gunk and made my hair look fabulous. (That is until I sprayed it up again.)

While I am no longer a slave to Rave hairspray, I do still put beer in my hair when I feel it's looking dull. It helps to clarify and gives hair extra shine. Make sure you really get the beer in there and relax in the shower for 3-5 minutes while it works it's magic.

And no, your hair won't smell like beer. Just make sure you shampoo and condition like normal, after the beer rinse. You won't be disappointed - I promise.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Simple Pleasures



I recently bought myself a bouquet of pale blue hydrangea, split it up into different vases and placed them around the house. On a few of the vases, I wrapped some burlap ribbon around the middle, attaching with double-sided sticky tape.

Since I am currently at home between work projects, I have really been able to enjoy these beautiful flowers all around my house.


I've really been trying to take the time to enjoy the simple things. This sounds so trite, but I know that, for me, it is something that I have to make a conscious effort to do sometimes. I naturally tend to think about, and plan for, the future (constantly) and living in the moment can be tough.



Ever since I was young, I have loved hydrangea. They are whimsical, dainty and simply stunning.

What little pleasures have you appreciated lately?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Random Picture That Makes Me Happy


I took this photo about two years ago at a vintage flea market that I am obsessed with (more about that here) and I just stumbled upon it today. What is it about...:

1) ...everyday items that show signs of wear and tear...
2) ...like-items grouped together...
3) ...stuff in galvanized metal containers...

...that I cannot get enough of? I don't think I will ever tire of such visually stimulating scenarios.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Two Lemon Recipes You Should Really Try...Really

   
I'm not sure why, but I have been seriously craving all things lemon lately. I've been buying them in bulk and using them in everything.

(And no, family, I am not pregnant. Sorry to disappoint you.) 
There are two recipes I have made lately that epitomize why I love cooking with lemon as you get a lot of bang for your buck. They are fresh, simple and so quick to prepare. One is a marinade for fish and the other is a delightfully simple salad dressing. Please do yourself a favor and try them both.

  
This recipe was developed by chef Jewels Elmore who works as a private chef for celebrities in LA. The marinade is very versatile and can be used with any type of seafood. 

Ingredients:

- 1 shallot
- 1/2 bulb of fennel
- 1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 lime, zested
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- A few cranks of a pepper mill

Directions:

- Cut the shallot and fennel into chunks. (Don't worry about them being pretty - just hack those suckers up.) Add all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well combined and a sauce-like consistency. 

- Use as a marinade for fish, shellfish, etc. Marinate for a few hours (as long as you can). 

**I used this marinade on tilapia fillets, and they were great. Because of how delicate tilapia is, I chose to broil mine in the oven for just a few minutes on each side. The sauce lends such a simple and fresh flavor to the fish that is also heart healthy! I served it with homemade risotto topped with fresh parsley. Divine!**

BUT WAIT - THERE'S MORE...

Here is a ridiculously easy salad dressing that will both impress and satisfy. You will never want to buy store-bought dressing again.

Lemon Salad Dressing:

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more, if you like), the zest of one lemon and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Once it is well combined, add to your favorite salad, toss and enjoy. 

As my Italian Grandmother used to say: Mangia! Mangia! (EAT! EAT!) 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Baby


Happy Birthday Dan!

You are the most ridiculously perfect person for me to share my life with. I am thankful every day that you are mine. 

I love you like a mad thing ;)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Season is Upon Us

"Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile"
  - William Cullen Bryant

I am really ready for the crisp and colorful months that are preparing to greet us - are you?

Happy September!



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