Monday, February 28, 2011

You Guessed It - It's Oscar Monday!!

Well, I'm sure I'm not the only blogger out there writing about the Oscars today, but I just can't help it! I love movies, and actors and seriously pretty clothes and accessories that I could never afford.

What did everyone think of James Franco and Anne Hathaway as hosts? I would say it probably wasn't the best hosting I've seen, but I like them both and thought it was fun. And, Anne has a great singing voice!

So, let's talk about the winners. 

I saw The Fighter a few months back with B, and we loved it. Now, the fact that both Mark Wahlberg (swoon) and Christian Blare were in the movie definitely helped to peak my interest, but we both thought it was an awesome on-screen portrayal of a true story. I didn't expect The Fighter to win best picture, but, it would have been awesome!! I did, however want both the Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards to go to actors from the film. Thankfully, both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo won for their amazingly well-acted roles in The Fighter, so I was happy to see that!

I haven't seen Black Swan or The King's Speech, but felt that both Natalie Portman and Colin Firth deserved the awards for their roles. By the way, is Natalie Portman not the cutest pregnant girl, ever?! And, it was no real surprise that The King's Speech won for Best Picture; I was expecting just that, and have now come up with my usual post-Oscar list of must-do's:

1) My taste in movies is not all that artistic, but I must see The King's Speech ASAP to see what the hype is all about.
2) I must return our Modern Family Season 1 DVD as soon as we're finished so that we can finally get The Social Network.
3) I need to figure out a way to get the GMA Oscar correspondent position and fill in for my girl Erin Andrews next year - does it help that I follow her on Twitter?!
4) If I cannot become the GMA correspondent, do you have any tips on how I can at least get invited to the Oscars? Or the Golden Globes? Anyone?

So, now the important things - who wore it best? Who knocked it out of the park again this year?

For the ladies, there were five women that I thought stole the show. In no particular order ...
I thought Anne rocked it out best in her red carpet ensemble - love the lady in red look!!
Mila looked stunning - even though I'm not a huge fan of pastels, or pasties, I thought she rocked it.
Again, is she not the cutest preggo girl in the world!? She was beaming!!

I have always loved Reese Witherspoon, and he classic look really hit the jackpot last night!

Speaking of Reese, did any of you catch her amazing accessories?! You go girl. Call me if you need a temporary home for any of those pieces. 
 And, last but certainly not least, the unsung beauty that is Erin Andrews - girl is smokin' if you ask me, and her dress was to die for!!

Of course, I couldn't leave out two of my faveorite Oscar men. None other than the handsome duo or Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale - yummy!


So, another Oscar season has come to a close. What were your favorite parts this year??

Friday, February 25, 2011

Streams of Consciousness this Friday

Today is Friday, thank goodness. This has been a doozy of a week for me, and I am in desperate need of this weekend. I have recently starting loving the "streams of consciousness" and "rambling" posts that I have been reading lately, so I decided to do a little Friday edition here.

  • I love black leggings. LOVE. You can find me in them at least 3 days per week right now, at least.
  • Posting wedding pictures totally made me want to wear my wedding dress again. 
  • I am super excited it's Friday, mostly because I have a date with the Hubby tonight - we're going to a Washington Capitals hockey game!!
  • We have been obsessed with watching Modern Family lately. We didn't start watching faithfully until Season 2, so we've been catching up on Season 1 via Netflix, and OMG, love the show even more now!! (If that's even possible)

So, in honor of Modern Family, check out one of my favorite Phil Dunphy moments ...



AND, thanks to Neely who MADE MY FRIDAY by posting the new preview of the Hangover 2!! Feast your eyes on Mr. Bradley Cooper, ladies :o)




Happy Friday!!!

That Stranger Upstairs

Before you worry that this is going to be some creepy post about the latest Lifetime movie I watched (yes, I do torture myself that way), don't fear.


Right before our wedding, B and I chose a modest one-bedroom apartment for us to call our first "home" for the next year. We decided to rent for one more year so we could work on the savings and the finding a place we actually like well enough to buy part. Well, despite the perks of a gym, tennis courts, community socials, walking paths and tons of dogs in this complex, we have found a few less than high class normal parts as well.


High Roller Apartment-Dwellers Problem 1: I would say that the thing I like the least about living in an apartment building is having neighbors on every side. Lucky for me us, we are on the ground level, and only have a neighbor directly above us. I have had the pleasure of running into this middle-aged man on one or two occasions, both times with his adorably over-sized golden retriever. I can't say that our encounters have been all that neighborly though. He normally looks flustered and gruff and makes a b-line for his front door.


It only took about a month of living here (14 days of which were spent away for our wedding and honeymoon) to realize that this guy has some really weird sleeping/living habits? 4AM is now known as the "witching hour" in our place because I always find myself awake enough to hear him rattling around upstairs for 30 minutes or so. I assume that he has odd work hours, or perhaps he's an insomniac, but I don't really have the need to share in whatever it is at that time of morning!


More recently, I have been able to hear some sort of groaning sound in the evenings (which I keep telling myself must be his TV. Right? RIGHT.) It would likely be easier to tune both of these things out if these buildings were better insulated, or maybe I just need to start sleeping with my fan on, every night.


Which leads me to ...


High Roller Apartment-Dwellers Problem 2: Mice. You read that right. And no, we're not living in some beat up old building, either. This is a nice place in a nice part of town that was (semi) recently renovated. Well? Our mice friends decided that by November, they had had enough of the cold winter months, and took up hibernation in the ceiling of our apartment. Not just above our apartment, but most of the time, in the ceiling space right above our bed. So, picture me lying awake at night, hanging with "grumpy" upstairs, and listening to the marathon sprints that the mice have decided to partake in after dark?


It took me over two weeks, and one late night with hubs to show convince him that I wasn't making this up. Why would  make up such a thing?


In the weeks that followed, B decided that he was going to set mousetraps and catch these little suckers himself! Well, my hero of a husband was right! He was able to rig some traps up in our ceiling and caught one within hours of placing it there! Maybe he should be the next Man vs. Wild, err, Man vs. Small Creatures?!


So, doesn't this make you want to move right in? No?


How many more days weeks months until August?!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Our Wedding In Pictures

 UPDATED!! Many of you wonderful ladies asked about where we got the bridesmaid dresses for the wedding! They are part of the 2009 Love Collection by Enzoani. The eggplant dress is #A15, and you can check the collection (and others) out here!!

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I thought it would be appropriate to post some wedding pictures to make up for the blog hiatus I took around that time of my life. You're welcome.

We were married on November 5, 2010 in Hometown, NJ, and had an awesome reception at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City overlooking Manhattan from the Jersey side.

Our wedding was everything I could have ever dreamed. Perfect weather (ok, almost), my friends and family, and the cutest new hubby I've ever seen! So, here's  look at our day in photos .. enjoy!












Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Wish List: Boots Edition

UPDATED: Many of you lovely ladies asked about where I got those pretty little cognac Intyce boots by Steve Madden, so I wanted to hook you up with a link! I typically buy my boots at Nordstrom, but I know they sell them at Piperlime and Shoes.com as well!

Click here to buy them at Nordy's!! ENJOY! :o)
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One of my favorite parts about fall and winter is the footwear! You can sometimes catch me wearing riding boots in September when it's still 70 degrees outside. Sometimes. So, I look forward to these times of the year so that I can break out and dust off my gorgeous collection of boots! Beginning in October and lasting through about April, I wear boots on about 8 out of 10 days. I basically plan my outfits around my shoes at this point. Is that weird?

So, today's post will be mostly about the boots I already own, and less about the boots on my wish list. I said less, not without.

Riding Boots, oh how I love thee. My closet wouldn't be the same without a few five of these babies. My favorite pair? The Steven by Steve Madden Intyce Riding Boot:

Hello, luvahhhh
I currently have three pairs of these boots in my closet in cognac, black and grey leather, and they are to die for! They pair perfectly with leggings, skinny jeans or even a dress! If I had to choose, I would say that the cognac pair are probably my favorite, the color is exactly what I wanted! I may or may not try to squeeze another pair into our budget before the end of the year for when my cognac ones get too beat up.

The most recent addition to my boot shrine collection is a more practical, but equally as fabulous pair of wellies! Once we added the pup to our mix, I knew a pair of these would come in handy on the many snowy and rainy days we've been having here in MD! I chose this pair of Chinese Laundry Bog Rain Boots:



Another item I just couldn't live without?

UGGS.

Short, tall, dark or light, it doesn't matter to me! Although it took me a little while to get used to the "eskimo" look of these boots, I never looked back once I tried them on! They are so comfy and warm it's like wearing fuzzy slippers all day long, and looking cute while you're at it! I pretty much throw a pair of mine on at any chance I get, and have been lucky enough to be gifted with both a camel and chocolate pair over the last few years.

Well, this wouldn't be a Wish List Wednesday if there wasn't something I'd been eyeing, right? Feast your eyes on the next pair of boots to be added to my collection ...


The Ugg Bailey Button Boot in Chesnut!! Hello, pretties - you will love your new home in my closet, someday.
So, that about sums up what I've been wearing on my feet for the last few four months. Now, let's just hope B doesn't make me start thinning out my collection on the next "closet cleanout for Goodwill" day!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast Recipe

I like to think of myself as an aspiring at-home chef, err, aspiring housewife that likes to cook? I am always looking for new recipes to add to my rotation, and love planning out our weekly meals when I remember have time. And, since the old saying "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" has proven true with B, I hate to disappoint!

I am lucky enough to have a few great friends who are also newlyweds and like to spice things up in the kitchen, so we get to trade recipes back and forth often. So, this week, I plan to impress woo Hubs with the newest recipe in my repertoire, and I wanted to share it with all of you! This will be my first time making this dish, but I was lucky enough to enjoy it, courtesy of my friend, M, and it was delicious!! I am not typically a big pesto fan, but the blend of cream cheese and pesto was the perfect accent for the chicken breasts, and it's easy to make!

Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast

Ingredients
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 jar of pesto (she recommended Sicilian, but you can use homemade as well)
1 pack of cream cheese (softened)
Bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese
1 egg (beaten)

Preheat over to 375. Begin by letting the cream cheese sit out at room temperature to soften. Once cream cheese is soft, combine with pesto until smooth. Butterfly the chicken breasts to create a pocket in each. Next, combine bread crumbs and parmesan in small bowl. Dredge the bottom of each chicken breast in beaten egg followed by the bread crumbs/cheese mixture to create a crust. Place partially coated chicken breasts in baking dish. Spoon pesto mixture into each breast to stuff. Cover with foil an bake for 40 minutes.

My friend, M accompanied this delectable chicken dish by preparing some linguine pasta, sauteed spinach and sliced grape tomatoes and then tossing it all together in some EVOO. The pasta was delicious, and in my humble opinion, could suffice as a meal on its own, but paired with the chicken? Yummers. I also prepared a simple salad to add some more veggies to the meal, so it can really be the complete package!!

I'll have to update once Hubs tries it - I hope you enjoy!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Steven Tyler Brough Idol Back

Among the countless hours of reality TV that are stored on our DVR every week, there is always room for American Idol. Over the last 10 seasons, I have fallen in love with contestant after contestant (can we say, Adam Lambert?! I'm still bummed he didn't win it).

Besides the hilarious auditions and outtakes, the mega-talented contestants and the always-entertaining Ryan Seacrest, one of the my favorite things was always the consistency of the judges. More specifically, the fact that Simon was always there, in the same t-shirt, ready to humiliate anyone he could get his hands on. I'd have to say that much of the success that Idol has seen branched from that man.

For the first few years, I watched for the talent, Paula's clapping, Randy's "dawg" shout outs and Simon's rude witty remarks. Once Paula left, it took me some time to adjust to Kara. Although she wasn't my favorite of the bunch, she grew on me, and girl had a ridiculous singing voice and a rockin' body to boot. Although I enjoyed the addition of Ellen to the show last year, I wasn't sure she was really what Idol needed, especially with the rumors about Simon leaving.

This brings us to present day, or the last 4-6 weeks that Idol has been on the air for yet another season. I had told B that I wouldn't be watching Idol once Simon was gone, so it came as a not surprise to him when he found it hanging out on our DVR yet again. I had to see what all the fuss was about, right? Could Steven Tyler and JLo really hold their own? Was Randy a has-been?

Well, let's just say that this season has far exceeded my sans-Simon expectations! Don't get me wrong, I still love the Brit, but I could not believe how much Steven and Jennifer Lopez really brought to the show. I was never a huge JLo fan, but now? I think she is adorable, and find myself pining after all of her outfits (well, other than the doorag).And, Steven Tyler has skyrocketed himself to the top of my "fave celebs on TV list" with ease. His comments are priceless, he's funny yet tender, and he even pipes in with that one-of-a-kind singing voice of his here and there! You could say that it was a done deal when I saw his reaction to Chris Medina's tryout and fiance'. Just in case you missed it ...




I'm looking forward to a stellar Idol season, and it hasn't disappointed yet!! Who are your faves?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Why Kenny Chesney Takes Me Back ...

Since Spring has decided to tease us for a few days here in MD, my mind couldn't help but begin to wander to the warmer days that are still to come this summer.

Have you ever heard the Kenny Chesney song "I Go Back?" There is a line in the song that goes "We all have a song that somehow stamped our lives, takes us to another place and time .." Have you ever experienced this? You hear a song on your radio and you are automatically back in your friend's basement after a high school dance discussing your latest crush, or you're sharing your first kiss with that guy you've been crushing on for what feels like forever?

Well, it's a little more general for me.

I have always been a country music fan. Since the day my Dad brought home Billy Ray Cyrus on tape and made us listen to it on repeat, err, I guess we had to physically rewind the tape each time? Oh, those were the days. Even though we grew up in North Jersey where there was (and still is) no country music station on the radio, country music found its way into our house all the time. So, I guess you could say that I got my country "culture" at home, and I got most of my country memories in college.

For the last 8 years, I never missed the chance to jump in the car with friends for an all day outdoor tailgate for a Kenny or Brad Paisley show. And when B and I frequent the beach during the summer with the in-laws, the local country station is the only go-to background music of choice while we enjoy the fresh, bayside air and a few cold drinks.

Perhaps all of these things have everything to do with the fact that I always directly associate country music with summer. The suntans, the flip flops, the lazy days and late nights with friends. And, I will go ahead and blame all of these wonderful things for the fact that I am now addicted to our local country radio station in February. Really?? Memorial Day is how many days away? I just can't help it. I have been blaring my favorite lazy day tunes with the windows down and the sunroof open for the past few days, and it's a great feeling. So, here's to hoping this weather doesn't leave us for long!

I just had to share my country song of the month week with you - gotta love Tim McGraw!!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Riley's Modeling Debut

Thank goodness Friday is here! And, the fact that it's 70* doesn't make it any easier to get through the rest of the workday in the office. Luckily for me, my office is only 4 miles from our place, so I got to go home and enjoy the sun with the pup for a bit during my lunch every day this week today!

Since Riley had a brief introduction on the blog earlier this week, I figured I didn't need to do the formal how I convinced Hubs to get her for me intro, but rather, show more of her sleeping, scampering, gnawing, playful puppy-self!

So, here is a better look at our new little one, in all of her 8 week old, black lab mix glory, cause after all, wouldn't my girl want me to show you pics of her from her "better" angles??



Riley is getting better at "smiling" for the camera! Momma is SO proud, but B insists that she takes after her Dad in disliking the camera. Maybe this is why she barks at both the camera and iPhone when I get in her face?!
Oh, and here are the proud furbaby parents on one of our last "nights out" for a while, it seems. Ha. Such is puppy motherhood?!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Wish Lists

So, to shake things up a little bit today, I decided that I would start "Wednesday Wish Lists" to share my favorite things, keep track of my never-ending wish list, and to show you pics of things other than B and I. Sound good? OK.

I spent some time thinking of the things that I could not go a day or week without, and came up with two things to get us started!

If you are anything like me, your day hasn't begun until you have that first swig sip of coffee. That first gulp is typically followed by 2 medium sized mugs of deliciously warm and slightly flavored, girly coffee. Hey, at least I'm making it at home every morning and not spending $5 a day on Starbucks, right? Well, for me, perfect mornings start here ..
Hazelnut is the bomb .. Pumpkin Spice has my heart though - too bad it's only seasonal?!



B is sometimes worried that I go through large bottles of this stuff too quickly, or maybe he should just buy stock in International Delight?! Nevertheless, I look forward to my morning cup o' Joe just as much as I look forward to the 15 minutes of Regis & Kelly that I get to see each morning.

Aside from my caffeine addictions habits, I also enjoy the perfect no-chip manicure. A girl has got to have a pretty or sparkly color adorning her finger nails at all times, right?! Well, being the chic and well dressed new wife that I am, and in trying to stick to my monthly budget (read: using any loose change or "blow money" to buy a new top rather than food or manicures), I opt to paint my own nails. 

Home manicures may seem like a royal pain, but I've been doing it for so many years that I don't even really notice it anymore. I don't even remember what my natural nails look like, and they're probably a horrible mess underneath the years of fabulous colors I have been covering them with. But, each week, without fail, I pop on a DVR'd episode of Gossip Girl The Bachelor educational TV and get to work. The whole process now only takes me 10 minutes or less. How did I get so good at this, you ask? Well, my friends, I found the one manicure secret that NO woman should live without. Feast your eyes on this little beauty ...

Manicure splendor in one little bottle - you can buy it here!
I learned about Seche Vite when I worked for a spa back in the day, and I never looked back. It goes on kinda thick, but dries super fast, and keeps your manicure looking fresh for days longer! I have already recommended it to a bunch of my friends, and they're all using it too! (FYI - I am in no way being compensated for this post, I just wanted to share because Seche Vite is the bomb-diggity)

So, there you have it, my first attempt at sharing some of my favorites with you! Check back next week and maybe I'll share my favorite online shopping stores, fuzzy slippers or shampoo - oh, the excitement!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Happy Heart

I know that Valentine's Day is often referred to as a "Hallmark Holiday," but I have always loved that there is a day each year on the calendar to recognize love. I felt this way even before Hubs, and before Riley, too!

This year is an extra special Valentine's Day in the "M" house. We have so much to celebrate! Since our last Valentine's Day we celebrated our marriage with a pretty rockin' party, moved into a little place of our own, starting looking for our new home and adopted a wonderful little bundle of joy puppy into our little family!

I hope you are all enjoying your Valentine's Days with you loved ones today - and maybe doing something a little extra for them! Perhaps a fancy dinner? A sweet note? Date night? A special new outfit?! Whatever way you are spending your day, I hope that you spend this day treasuring the ones you love, and making sure to tell them just how much you love them!

And, for the sake of love, I thought it would be fun to show you a few photos of B and I through the years ...

I know I'm a little bias, but I think I have the sweetest and cutest Valentine <3

Happy Love Day!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Never A Dull Moment ...

Hello, world! What day is it? I can hardly remember after this doozy of a week!

Big news at our house!! First, let me give you a little background info on the "M" home front since the big day (i.e. the wedding back in November). B and I have always wanted to add a puppy to our little family, but knew this would have to wait until after the wedding craziness had passed and we had found a place to call our "temporary" (read: before "real" house) home. Well, November turned into Christmas turned into February and we found ourselves trying to come up with something extra special to do for Valentine's Day this year.

Enter my ability/obsession to stalk little adoptable pups on the internet.

I had been stalking/searching for the perfect little boxer mix adoptable pup on Petfinder.com for weeks, and would send B links of what could be this "perfect little addition" for our family. We would stare at the pictures and talk about how cute they were, and how much they looked like our favorite pup in the world, who just happens to be my brother-in-laws adorable pitbull mix.

But alas, we would then decide that we weren't quite ready yet, and would rather wait until it was a bit warmer than the balmy 10 degrees it seems to be overnight around here these days.

Talk of what to get each other for Valentine's Day came up the other night, and B found it a perfect time to remind me (read: show me) about the new set of golf clubs he'd been eyeing online.

B "They're on sale and everything!"
Me: "Yea, I guess being marked down about 50% from $899.99 is a decent sale (while thinking to myself "hmm, what items on my current wish list will fit into this price tag?")

Well, it turns out that the Michele watch and D-SLR camera I'd been pining over don't fit that bill, so it was back to the drawing board. And the I remembered! An adoptable puppy definitely fits in that price range! So, off to the web I went yet again, trying to find the perfect little "soon to be ours" pup. And, what did I find?! A whole litter of baby boxer mix pups and 7 lab mix pups all at the same place!! This was great news, and would definitely get the wheels turning in B's head.

So, being the good wife that I am, I sent him the link, followed by a text prompting him to check his email for pics of these cute little ones. After that moment, it was a 24-hour whirlwind. We went from gawking at puppy pics online to submitting and application pretty quickly. Once our application was approved, we set up a time to go pick out our little one. So, B and I make the 30 minute trip out to the foster home they were currently waiting in with the intention of picking out the boxer mix pup we'd seen on the website. We arrive at this woman's home, head downstairs to check out the pups, and the last boxer puppy had just been scooped up by its new owner.

My first reaction was sadness and feeling like I had had my heart set on a puppy that was no longer there, so we should head back home and try again next time! But, what fun would that have been, and what kind of person would I be if I went into this new situation with my brand new hubby with such a narrow minded focus?

So, B and I spent a few minutes checking out the rest of the lab mix pups that were left in the room; some wrestling, some snoozing and one little girl who was lazily napping off on her own that caught our eye. We were both drawn to her almost immediately. And, within a few minutes, I think we both knew she was the "one." And that quickly, this 7 pound black lab mix puppy has stolen our hearts. We are smitten, slightly sleep deprived and enjoying every minute of becoming our own little family!!

So, without further ado (read: rambling), I introduce you to Riley, the best Valentine's Day present ever!!


(My apologies for the phone quality of this pic; more and better ones to come!!)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Is Anyone Out There?!?!

Well, for those of you who thought I had moved to another country or basically vanished from this earth, you were wrong!!

2010 got the best of me, and between planning our wedding, moving, traveling, honeymooning and getting used to life as newlyweds, I kinda went MIA for, ohh, close to a year!?!? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!


Well, I am back with a vengeance and a new look! What do we think so far? A Girl, Inspired has now transitioned into "Our Love Nest" with a catchy little tagline to boot. We are still technically "under construction," but I do have loads of new stuff to share and cannot wait to get back into the swing of things!! So, keep checking back for new ramblings and amusement from the brand new "M Family!!"




**A special shout-out to my dear friend Aliya at Aliya Rinaldi Designs for the blog facelift!!