Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My 2011 Christmas


And what a very merry Christmas it was!
Hope your holiday was as happy as mine was!


And of course it a very Hello Kitty Christmas too!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree!


Presenting my first Christmas tree in the new house!


And when the lights are off.


Some of my ornaments:


Happy (early) Holidays Everyone!

Just LOVE these shoes

And they're all mine!


Merry Christmas to me!

Look at all the Glitz!


Special thanks to my coworker for giving me Awesomeness for Christmas!

Word of the Day 12/22/2011

Echelon (noun)

1: a steplike arrangement
2a : one of a series of levels or grades in an organization or field of activity b : the individuals at such a level

Examples: We heard stories of corruption in the higher echelons of the firm.

"The Horseheads school district is in the upper echelon of upstate school districts, according to a new list created by a Buffalo business publication." -- From an article by Jeff Murray in the Elmira Star-Gazette (New York), November 13, 2011

Did You Know?: "Echelon" is a useful word for anyone who is climbing the ladder of success. It traces back to "scala," a Late Latin word meaning "ladder" that was the ancestor of the Old French "eschelon," meaning "rung of a ladder." Over time, the French word (which is "├ęchelon" in Modern French) came to mean "step," "grade," or "level." When it was first borrowed into English in the 18th century, "echelon" referred specifically to a steplike arrangement of troops, but it now usually refers to a level or category within an organization or group of people.

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Word of the Day 12/20/2011

Subterfuge (noun)


1: deception by artifice or stratagem in order to conceal, escape, or evade
2: a deceptive device or stratagem

Examples: They obtained the documents through subterfuge.
"Staring into a series of mirrors, Philip Fletcher's Iago watches as his reflections come to life, in the form of two of Synetic's other first-rank actor-dancers, Alex Mills and Irina Tsikurishvili. Giving Iago an omnipresent shape helps an audience imagine the breathtaking scope of his subterfuge as he creates the circumstances in which a man might be falsely convinced that a loyal wife is straying." -- From a review by Peter Marks in The Washington Post, November 4, 2011

Did You Know?: Though "subterfuge" is a synonym of "deception," "fraud," "double-dealing," and "trickery," there’s nothing tricky about the word’s etymology. We borrowed the word and meaning from Late Latin "subterfugium." That word contains the Latin prefix "subter-," meaning "secretly," which derives from the adverb "subter," meaning "underneath." The "-fuge" portion comes from the Latin verb "fugere," which means "to flee" and which is also the source of words such as "fugitive" and "refuge," among others.

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

"You are a Soul"

"People, even more than things..."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Who's That Girl? It's Jess!

Is anyone else obsessed with this show?!? Anyone!?!?!?!?!


Gawd I LOVE Fox's New Girl! Zooey Deschanel is simply (in Fox's one word) Adorkable!

This is one of my new favorite shows and the DVR loves it too. I'm a fan of her sister Emily Deschanel on Fox's Bones and I've listened to some of Zooey's music before, but then when this show came out, the Pilot episode was set for recording a week in advance. And I was so glad I did.

All the characters are written and played... adorkably!
Of course we all love Jess, but you also have to love model-man-eater Cece, playa-please Schmidt, athletic-win-it Wintson, and humble-flannel-loving Nick. You love them in their own way of course.


A new comedy series from executive producer and writer Liz Meriwether ("No Strings Attached"), NEW GIRL features a young ensemble cast that takes a fresh look at modern relationships.

After a bad break-up, JESS DAY (Zooey Deschanel) needs a new place to live. An online search leads her to a great loft...and three single guys she's never met before. But Jess moves in, and through her unique sense of self and the support of her new roommates, she learns to move on.

Of her three new male roommates, NICK (Jake Johnson) is the most grounded...and also the most jaded. A law school dropout, he spends most of his time hiding under his hoodie and tending bar. SCHMIDT (Max Greenfield) is a hustling young professional who's pretty proud of his own abs. WINSTON (Lamorne Morris), is an intensely competitive former athlete who doesn't know what to do next-but whatever he does, he wants to win it.

Rounding out the group is Jess' childhood best friend, CECE (Hannah Simone), a model with a killer deadpan. As their relationships progress, these five realize they need each other more than they thought they would and end up forming a charmingly dysfunctional - or strangely functional - family.


Iron Chef Zakarian

Ok, let me just say that I LOVE THIS SHOW!


Whew, glad I got that off my chest. See, most of America has American Idol, or the X Factor... Alex and I have Iron Chef America. And last night, the hunny and I watched the finale of Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs. He wanted Alex Guarnaschelli (second from the left), and I wanted Anne Burrell (third from the left), but when it came down to just two chefs: Chef Elizabeth Falkner & Chef Geoffrey Zakarian... sorry Elizabeth, but Geoffrey had our vote.


Both Alex and I were very excited (I was probably more nervous though) for the finale. Sunday morning I woke up and announced "OMG Iron Chef finale is TONIGHT!!! Ahhhh!!!" That's how excited (and maybe a little nerdy) I was for the finale.

It's usually taped in the DVR so when we got home after dinner, put the baby to bed and off to bed we went to watch it. It was an amazing episode, no... an AMAZING episode! The DVR couldn't fast-forward fast enough during the commercials! Chef Falkner had awesome dishes, and I'll admit, she's pretty bad ass in the kitchen. But our Chef Zakarian ROCKED it with his overall meal.

And who do you think won? Why else would I be blogging about this if it wasn't...

IRON CHEF ZAKARIAN!

When the Chairman proclaimed this Hello Kitty band-aid lover the next Iron Chef, Alex and I jumped up and down and was screaming happiness for our Chef Z! We were a tad excited that he won, just a tad *enter sarcasm*.

Don't believe me on the Hello Kitty? One of the many episode shots of him with many band-aids on (yet another reason I wanted him to win):


Congratulations Iron Chef Zakarian!

(can't wait for next Sunday's episode where he has his first battle as the newest Iron Chef!)

Word of the Day 12/19/2011

Ethereal (adjective)

1: of or relating to the heavens : heavenly
2: being light and airy : delicate

Examples: I had expected the spa to be one of those places where they burn aromatherapy candles and play ethereal music, but it wasn't like that at all.

"His compositions are ethereal, often enhanced by coloured lighting effects in performances, and draw inspiration from his Nordic homeland." -- From a review by Hannah Nepil in Time Out (UK), November 3, 2011

Did You Know?: If you're burning to know the history of "ethereal," you're in the right spirit to fully understand that word's etymology. The ancient Greeks believed that the Earth was composed of earth, air, fire, and water, but that the heavens and its denizens were made of a purer, less tangible substance known as either "ether" or "quintessence." Ether was often described as an invisible light or fire, and its name derives from the Greek "aithein," a verb meaning "to ignite" or "to blaze." When "ethereal," the adjective kin of "ether," debuted in English in the 1500s, it referred specifically to regions beyond the Earth, but it gradually came to refer to anything heavenly or airy.

Merriam-Webster Online

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Work It Wednesday: Energy Boosting Stretch

I was browsing the Pink.Dazzle.Gloss and came across her post about the Energy Boosting Stretch. Sounded like something I needed to do, seeing how I'm sure I pulled something when I was at rehearsal yesterday teaching dance. Thought I'd share for today: Energy Stretch!


Everyday stress can throw your entire system off kilter; your muscles tighten, your heart races, and your stomach starts acting up -- again. A simple seated forward bend can activate a reserve of sustaining energy that, according to Chinese medicine, rests between the kidneys. "It calms the nervous system, gets the organs fully functioning, and clears up obstructions in the kidneys and adrenal glands," explains Daniel Max, nutrition counselor, shiatsu practitioner, and yoga instructor with Max Sense of Self in Watertown, Massachusetts. Get your qi back in no time with this quick stretch.

What It Does:
Calms the mind; relieves stress; stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings, and back; stimulates the kidneys and adrenal glands; improves digestion; and reduces fatigue.

How to Do It:1. Sit with your legs extended straight in front of you, feet parallel with toes pointing up. Press the back of your legs into the floor.

2. Inhale deeply and lift through the upper body. With your spine straight and shoulders back, pull the navel in slightly toward the spine, creating space in the abdomen. Exhale, release, and lean forward, bending from the hip, not the waist.

3. Fold forward only as far as you can (keep your knees bent if that's more comfortable). With each inhalation, lift and lengthen the front torso slightly; if you feel able to go further, release a little more fully into the bend on an exhale. Try not to crunch; maintain length through the spine.

4. Hold for a few breaths, allowing your body to open up. Direct your breath toward the kidneys, breathing deep into the lower back. Then inhale and sit up slowly, lifting your torso away from the thighs until your back is straight. Repeat 2 to 3 times.

You can read more on this and other great fitness ideas here!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Taste Buds: Apple Cider Snickerdoodle Cookies

So last weekend Erin over at the L&C hosted a lovely Christmas cookie exchange party, second annual btw. There were several types of cookies but this recipe caught my taste buds by surprise. I always enjoy a good snickerdoodle cookie, but *be still my heart* an APPLE CIDER one! Oh that I had to try one.... or five. The kick ass Miss Taryn at Pink.Dazzle.Gloss introduced me to a wonderful new holiday cookie and was so kind to give me the recipe (to share with you too of course!)



Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups apple cider
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 3 tablespoons for rolling
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped red and green crispy apple chips, plus whole chips for garnish
2 teaspoons apple pie spice (or a little extra cinnamon if you can't find the spice)



Directions:

- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

- Heat the cider in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Continue to cook until syrupy and reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 12 to 14 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

- Whisk the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Beat the butter with 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar and the light brown sugar in a separate bowl on medium-high speed until fluffy and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the reduced cider and the egg (the mixture may look slightly curdled). Stir in the flour mixture and 1/4 cup of the chopped apple chips until combined.

- Stir together the remaining 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of chopped apple chips and the apple pie spice in a small bowl. Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into balls, using lightly moistened hands if the dough is too sticky, and then roll in the spiced sugar mixture. Place the dough balls 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets and top with a few pieces of whole apple chips. Bake until the edges are just set but centers are still soft, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating pans halfway through the baking time. Cool 2 to 3 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.



Monday, December 5, 2011

#86 DZP: Go on a Gondola Ride


"When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine
That's amore..."

Yes Dean, it was amore!
(and yes, we had too much wine hehe)

I got this deal from Groupon.com to go on a gondola ride from Sunset Gondola (at a discounted rate of course) and it just so happens to be walking distance from our old place. So I bought it, scheduled it, and we rode it! It was amazing! I've determined that everyone should go on a gondola ride, whether in Venice, Italy or here in California, you all need to go on one.

Sunset Gondola had just about everything you need to make your gondola ride a momentous one. They offer so many ways to celebrate too: for anniversaries, full moon outtings, sunset outtings, holiday light cruises, wine tastings, and *eh-hem* proposals. You bring your own beverage/food or order a package deal, they provide the cups, ice, opener, blankets. They'll even sing for you!

We toured the Huntington Harbour and got to see the early stages of people's Christmas lights and boats decorated as such too. It was beautiful, and not that cold for a December beach night!

..love..love..love..

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hello December!


That's right! Winter comes full effect in December: holidays, shopping for gifts (unless you slack like me), candy-canes, putting lights up, snow days (for those of us who are not fortunate enough to have snow come to them) celebrating with friends and family... all the good stuff ya!

First comes my Mom's birthday, then getting the tree, putting icicles around the house, taking out the Christmas cookie cutters and other baking goodies, wrapping all the gifts up, Christmas Eve and the Day celebration, then my family's Japanese Mochitsuki (google it), and then New Years Eve!

This year will be extra special since it's Ryan's first December (and Christmas and such!) I can't wait to continue the traditions of baking Santa cookies, making a "I've been good" list, and leaving sugar cubes outside for his reindeer. Now I know he's very little and won't remember any of this, but I gotta start the kid of right!!

I love December, not as much as June but that's just because that's my birthday month... but I still love December nonetheless! And now let's celebrate and boogie our festive butts off.... and I leave you with the lovely Ryan Gosling being his festive-self. *drool*

Thirsty Thursday: Pineapple Vanilla Flirtini with Pomegranate Seeds

Came across this lovely cocktail when browsing through Jenny's website! She's AMAZING!

Every great cocktail party needs a festive flirtini cocktail. This not too sweet cocktail will be the hit of your Holiday party!




2 cups of Pineapple Juice
1/2 cup of Vanilla Vodka
2 cups of Champagne or Sparkling Wine
Pomegranate Seeds

Stir together Pineapple juice, vodka and champagne. Shake in ice before serving. Top with Pomegranate seeds.

Doesn't that look tasty!!!