Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Succumb!

Ok, so I know that I said that I would be dieting between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but who was I kidding?!  The truth is, I've actually been doing the exact opposite of dieting -- I've been eating everything in sight!

And who can blame me?  Everywhere I turn there are cookies, chocolates, moose munch, cupcakes, popcorn, the list goes on and on.  It's disgusting and it's awesome.

Oh well, I give up!  I succumb to the peppermint bark, and I succumb to the caramel corn.  I will eat like there's no tomorrow and enjoy every minute of it!

I guess my diet starts next's to a fun filled, food filled Christmas.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stocking Stuffers

I've always loved the holidays. Singing Christmas music, decorating the tree, eating tons of yummy treats, giving presents, getting presents.  It's all so much fun!

I've also always loved the gifts left to me by Santa in my stockings.  Even though they were little, they were always the best.  I remember one year I got a necklace, a gift card to my favorite store, a New Kids on the Block tape (don't judge me) and make-up!  It was awesome.  Think about it.  Good things do come in small packages!

It comes as no surprise then, that this year, I am most looking forward to opening the gifts in my stocking left by Santa (aka my husband).  I get excited just imagining all the wonderful possibilities.

Might there be earrings, a necklace?  Gift cards galore?  Lip gloss, and polish?  Or maybe much more?  Who knows what will come from my stocking this year, but whatever it is, comes with love and good cheer!

Wow, I'm corny!  Oh well, tis the season...Enjoy the holidays everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

How Annoying Are: Morning People

I don't know about you, but when I get to work in the morning, all I want to do is sip my cup of coffee, log into my email, and settle in for the day ahead.  Why is it then, that some people want to instantly accost me as I am walking through the door to my office?

Hi Christina! How are you? What did you do last night?  Is Mike away this week? Did you get the email I sent you about blah, blah, blah? 

WTF people?!  I just got here.  Leave me alone for 5 minutes and then I'll answer all the questions you want.

Seriously though.  People need time to get into the groove, to mentally and physically prepare themselves for the work that lies before them.  I happen to be one of those people. 

So here's my Christmas wish: to all you morning people chatter bugs out there, please heed my cry, and give me my 10 minutes in the morning.  It will make all the difference. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mixed Feelings

I’m on the road again. As is common during my many business trips, I spent this evening reading articles on the New York Times and Washington Post. Tonight, mostly about Julian Assange and Wikileaks. I take particular interest in the Executive response. Mostly because I am an Executive employee. Through a long line of bureaucracy, President Obama is my boss. My boss says I can’t view the leaked cables. I read tonight that certain Executive departments have blocked employees from viewing media accounts of the leaks. As my title implies, I have mixed feelings.

As a general matter, I am disgusted with Bradley Manning. He had no right to leak sensitive documents, and in so doing, he broke the law. He put civil servants in harm’s way, and put America in danger. Period. Like many of my fellow citizens, 0ften I may not agree with my government. But I earn a living enforcing laws, and thus, I demand that my fellow citizens follow the laws of this country, whether or not they or I believe in them as a matter of principle.

Still, the way this has unfolded causes me trouble. Once these classified documents were released to the media, what response was appropriate from our government who must then answer for their actions? Clearly the president has the right to demand that his employees refrain from reading the classified materials. For it is not the general public for whom the disclosure laws are drafted and passed, but the Executive employees who are responsible for safeguarding the sensitive information. I cannot disclose – even to my wife – certain information that I learn professionally. But once that information is disseminated publicly, what is the government’s proper response? Is it right to tell Executive employees (who moonlight as ordinary Americans) that they are prohibited from viewing sensitive material? Surely there is little reason to believe that federal employees can be shielded from the remaining 199 million Americans who can’t be told to avert their eyes. What is President Obama really hoping to accomplish by managing his employees’ behavior in this way? Surely he cannot expect that preventing such a small portion of Americans from learning this information will have any effect at all. Except, of course, for the clear message that it sends to his employees.

Personally, I don’t care much to read the leaked cables. But I do care to read the New York Times’ articles about them. And I do care to discuss the topic with my friends and family. It’s a slippery slope when anyone’s employer (or government) tells them what they can or cannot read in the media. Access to media is a fundamental American right.

I am incredibly thankful for the work of the members of our armed services. I support my government. I follow directions from my boss. In many ways, I feel they all failed me on this one.

Oh, I almost forgot, Julian Assange is a 100% total mega-douche.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Perfect Camisole

In French the word for camisole is caraco, which literally means, bustier or blouse.  French women always have the most beautiful caracos peeking out from underneath their tops, making me jealous.

I, on the other hand have been on the search for the perfect camisole forever!  I know that the awesome French boutique Zadig and Voltaire carry lovely camisoles and that many Parisian women flock there to purchase them, but alas, I am here in the States, and in DC nonetheless where there is no Zadig and Voltaire..I know, boo hoo me.

So, I'm asking all ladies out there, where do you find the perfect little cami?  I'm picturing silk with some lace on the top, that comes in black and nude.

Lingerie stores? Department stores? Help!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dreaming of Vuitton

Her name: Artsy

Her maker: Louis Vuitton

Colors: Grey, Black, Red, and Blue

Her future owner: Me...maybe...someday...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Bella Boo Christmas!

Bella's Christmas Wish List

A lifetime supply of chicken treats
To sleep in Mommy and Daddy's bed EVERY night
A new purple sweater
A new dog tag in the shape of a bone!
To lick Daddy's dinner plate clean!

Thanks Santa!

I'll be sure to leave you some biscuits, I mean, cookies on Christmas Eve...


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Yay Scarves!

Today I am wearing a thin chiffon scarf as an accessory to my outfit and I've received many compliments on it.  In recent years the scarf has taken on a whole new meaning.  It is not just something that keeps our necks warm anymore, no no!  It is a highly sought after accessory that can take a just okay looking outfit to a new level of awesomeness.

Take the Alexander McQueen skull scarf for example.  LOVE! I tried on a purple one a few weeks ago and poof!  Instantly better.  The deep purple color was outstanding, the skulls are bad-ass, and you can wear it a million different ways and always look good.

See for yourself:
Amazing color, light as a feather, and so pretty!

I have to admit though, that some people take scarf wearing a little too seriously.  Also, you should always be able to tell the difference between a scarf and a blanket...see what I mean?
This just looks ridiculous.

Those are just a little too much for me.  What kind of scarves are you wearing this winter season?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Velvet, Yuck!

A very popular trend right now is velvet and I hate it.  When I think of velvet I think of bad beauty pageants, renaissance fairs, and regal clothing worn in Elizabethan times.  Not necessarily modern or fashion forward.

I know that designers are bringing velvet to a whole new level, or so they say, but I just can't get into it!

What do you think?  Good, or terribly bad?

I think these are all hideous. Too costumey!

I like the flowered skirt and the blazer and bolero

From the Carolina Herrera 2010 Winter Collection

Renaissance! Eww...

Not okay by any means...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is it me or...

Are things just prettier around the holidays?  Storefronts and buildings are decorated, street lamps and front doors have flowers and wreaths hanging, candles flicker from inside people's homes...

And...everything being sold in the stores with the pretty holiday windows, seems better, prettier, more desirable somehow.  How is this possible?  Is there something in the air?  Is it the decorations?  Why is it that I want EVERYTHING I see this time of year?  Maybe I'm just nuts...

Here's a preview of what I mean:

Ruffled Echo Touch Gloves

Baby Pink Ear Phones

LL Bean Hearthside Slippers

Les Exclusifs Beige Perfume
These are just a few items that have recently caught my eye.  I saw the cute pink ear buds at Best Buy the other day and wanted them cute!  The Echo gloves are also super cute and you can wear them and still use your  phone or e-reader touch screen because they have e-link fabric on the finger tips! 

The LL Bean slippers are awesome as well.  They're extremely comfy, come in lots of different colors and are lined with fleece to keep your tootsies super warm!  And last but certainly not least, is the Chanel perfume Beige.  What can I say?  The scent is outta this world good and it's Chanel...perfect!

What do you have your eye on this holiday season?

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Diet Starts Today!

Wow.  It's amazing how many pounds a girl can pack on over a long weekend!  Yesterday my diet consisted of a slice of pie for breakfast, popcorn and nachos for lunch (we went to see Harry Potter), bread, cheese and pâté for dinner, and another slice of pie for dessert.  GROSS!

Today it's back to reality, back to work, and definitely back to the gym.  My goal is to lose 7 pounds by Christmas.  Then I can gain it all back between then and New Year's Eve, just kidding...or am I?

How do you keep off the pounds during the holidays?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tired of Turkey

One thing I forgot to mention about Thanksgiving is how sick and tired a person can get of eating leftover turkey and stuffing.  Mike and I made enough food to feed an army, so what that means is that we have been eating turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing since Thursday afternoon.  It's now Saturday evening and I can't even think of eating another bite of turkey!

Oh well, good thing Thanksgiving only comes around once every year.  Here are some pictures of our food preparation and the meal.  It sure was good when we ate it the first time!

Pouring the sweet potato into the pie crust

Before it was yummy!

Smoked turkey legs

Celery, carrots, onions, thyme, sage, mushrooms and chorizo for the stuffing

Stuffing goodness

Turkey breast with fresh herbs

Broccoli casserole

Round one...

Bella gets to eat it all!!

Bella in a Thanksgiving coma. Goodnight!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu

I'm sitting here at work counting down the minutes until I can leave so that the Thanksgiving eating  and laziness can commence.  Mike and I have already bought most of the ingredients we will need to whip up our Thanksgiving feast for two.

Here's the menu:

Brined  and Roasted Turkey Breast and Legs
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Broccoli Casserole
Homemade Stuffing with Sausage, Mushrooms and Sage
Homemade Pumpkin Pie

I'll be sure to take lots of pictures of our preparation of the food and of course of the finished products.  I can't wait to start cooking tomorrow morning!

I hope you all have a wonderful and yummy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mike and Christina's Thanksgiving

For the past three years Mike and I have celebrated Thanksgiving together with Bella, just the three of us.  My parents usually head to Georgia, where my mother is originally from, and Mike's parents are outside of Seattle, which is a little too far to travel for just a few days.

This year is no exception.  We are so excited to just lounge around fat and happy in a turkey and stuffing induced coma.  Thanksgiving is a fantastic holiday because it's the only time of year when extreme laziness is accepted and actually expected! 

Our plans are as follows:
Thursday - Cook all morning, stuff our faces, watch movies, nap, round two of face stuffing, drink wine, watch TV, head to bed.

Friday - Sleep in, have breakfast, laze around, snack on leftovers all day, nap, leisurely walk with Bella, nap, eat, drink more wine, sleep.

Saturday - Repeat Friday...

Sunday - Repeat Saturday...

It's possible that some shopping may occur, as you know we love to buy things and all the great sales are going on, but other than that I don't see us being very active at all.  Isn't it awesome!!

Thanksgiving, I love you!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Food: The Antidote for the Sunday Blues

Mike and I always talk about having the Sunday blues.  You look at the clock, it's after 5pm, and you realize that your weekend is over and Monday morning looms.

What can you do to make yourself feel better? Cook and eat!  Here are some pictures of some of the good eats we've recently made on Sundays past.

Good food can cure even the worst of the Sunday blues...we guarantee it.  Bon Appetite!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shades of Grey

In the past year I have found three grey hairs on my head.  This is not ok.  At first, I thought, wow this is a sign of wisdom and experience and it's only natural and beautiful.  Then the truth sunk in.  This SUCKS!

Grey hairs are not a sign of wisdom, they're a sign of age -- old age!  They are also not beautiful (on my head).  They are coarse and wirey and stick out like a sore thumb!

I know that you're probably thinking that I am overreacting and that having a few grey hairs is nothing to worry about, but that's where you're wrong.  What if 3 turns into 30, and then into 300??  NO, that cannot happen.  I'm only 30 years old, too young to have a head full of grey hair.

So, what's a girl to do?  Well I'll tell ya!  Yank those suckers out!  Aha, you heard me, and so far so good.  Oh, and by the way, the myth that if you pull out a grey hair three more will grow in its place, is a bold faced lie!  I hope... 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Morning Fun

Fast forward to 6:14 for actual video!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Endorse: Barbour (his and hers)

Christmas always seems to come early in the New-Watling home. I suppose it is a function of our retail propensities. Typically our yuletide giving ritual consists of (1) figuring our yearly budget, and (2) promptly blowing it. This year was no exception. Thankfully we kept our budget far lower than years past. But, I digress.

Let's back up to a related side story: we recently had drinks with an old neighbor of ours, Robert, who is an older guy, single, and Australian. I used to see him in passing and he was always well put together. Robert came over for drinks and was casually dressed -- jeans, chelsea boots by RM Williams and a fine looking coat that I assumed was a Barbour or Belstaff. As commonly happens with me, I decided I must have one.

Fast forward to this weekend. Christina mentioned that she may want a new mild weather coat. Light bulb on; lets go to the new Barbour store in Georgetown! And Merry X-mas in mid November. His and hers waxed cotton jackets. For me, the Int'l Union Jack model, for her a Winter Force Parka.

If only we could wait until X-mas to enjoy . . . here they are!

Friday, November 12, 2010

How Annoying Are: People Who Don't Send Thank You's

Call me old fashioned, but I am still a big fan of the thank you card.  It's just good etiquette.  Growing up, I was ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS told and reminded to send thank you's whenever I got a gift.

Wedding season is coming to a close and Mike and I attended a few this year, and I am always interested to see how long it takes the bride to send out the thank you cards.  Technically they say you have a year from your wedding date, but I think that's bullshit.  That's too long!

My rule of thumb is within a week if possible.  If not, then definitely within the month, or else you'll forget.  Come to think of it, I haven't received a thank you yet from a couple of friends from their weddings.  Hmmm...

Hey ladies!  If you're reading this I'm talking to you!!  Thanks!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm not Worthy! Am I?

If you didn't already know, I love handbags.  Small, large, leather, fabric, whatever!  I like them all! In my 30 years on this earth, I have managed to collect a nice variety of handbags from high end designers like Bottega Veneta, Fendi and Ferragamo, to my grandmother's vintage bags and great thrift store finds.

A few years ago, Mike and I made a deal that I would only be allowed to buy one new bag per year.  I decided that this purchase would be my Christmas present and therefore now look forward to Christmas more than ever, so that I can choose the bag of my liking and have a new best friend for a while.

Unfortunately, the one bag that I covet which I haven't been allowed to purchase yet is, *DRUM ROLL* you guessed it!  The black classic Chanel quilted handbag with the flap.  Just thinking about it makes me swoon.  Am I worthy of this bag?  I think yes.  Mike thinks not yet...

Yes, I know it's expensive, but it is classic.  It would be something that I wear forever, then pass on to my daughter who would then pass it to my granddaughter, who would see where I'm going with this.

Anyway, another Christmas is approaching but the question still remains.  Am I worthy of this bag?  Must I wait another year?

What do you think?

Monday, November 8, 2010

This is a Chinese Restuarant!

I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was 15 years old and on my first trip to Europe with my parents.  We were enjoying a sunny day in London and decided to try out the city's Chinatown for lunch.  Since my dad is Chinese, he chose the restaurant based on menus posted outside. So far, so good...

I remember enjoying the meal, and having a nice time, until my father asked for a bowl of rice.  Rice, as you know, is a staple of Chinese food...but, I digress.  The waitress looked at him and said that rice was an additional two pounds per bowl.  Two pounds?  Per bowl?  Was she mad?  That was almost four dollars back then! 

What happened next was classic.  My dad, enraged, pounded his fist on the table and exclaimed "This is a Chinese restaurant!", "I should not have to pay extra money for my rice...what kind of Chinese restaurant charges for a bowl of rice?"  At this point I had crawled under the table in shame.

Well, fast foward 15 years and whatta you know, last night I became my father.  I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

A new Spanish small plates restaurant called Estadio recently opened in the Logan neighborhood and we decided to try it out and have an early dinner with Matt and Josh last night.  Overall, the place was cute and the food was pretty good.  Come to think of it, I would probably be singing a completely different tune if I didn't feel like we were nickel and dimed for little things.

For example, we asked for more bread with our cheese and meat course and our server said that bread was an additional two dollars.  Here we go again!  That's right, fifty cents per friggin slice for the four of us to have a piece each.  UNREAL!  Then, Mike ordered a Jack Daniels on the rocks and our server told us that a drink on the rocks costs an additional dollar.  When I, in a shocked state said, "you charge a dollar for ice?", our server shamefully nodded her head.

So Mike ordered his drink neat, and asked for a glass of ice water.  Moral of the story: restaurants shouldn't be asking patrons to pay extra for things like bread, or ice, or rice!  These things should be included in the cost of the meal and the additional dollar or two should be tacked onto the price of an appetizer or entree, or hell even a dessert.  Then we wouldn't know the difference, and everyone would be happy.

Needless to say, we won't be returning to Estadio anytime soon.  Would you?!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How Annoying Are: Rainy Commutes to Work

If you live anywhere on the East Coast, today is a rainy mess.  We are in D.C. and it's pouring here and the forcast calls for rain all day, all night, and most of tomorrow...UGH!

Needless to say, my walk to work this morning SUCKED MAJORLY!  Like an idiot, I didn't wear my rainboots so my feet got soaked along with the bottom of my pants, and my umbrella is cheap and from CVS and blows inside out like every few blocks.  Aahhh!!

On days like this though, everyone's commute sucks.  Drivers all of a sudden forget how to drive making traffic horrendous, the metro is usually delayed which means that the platforms are full of dripping wet umbrellas and angry people, and those of us who are on foot get to enjoy deep puddles, slippery sidewalks, fallen branches, and other people's umbrellas almost taking out our eyes!

All around, not fun.  How was your commute today?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunday Dinner: Brisket and Veggies

A typical Sunday for Mike and I usually includes:

1. Cleaning the apartment

2. Running errands

3. Watching a Netflix movie

4. Cooking a nice dinner

Yesterday was no exception, although watching a movie was replaced with watching World Series baseball.  We had got our grocery shopping done on Saturday which is unusual for us, but looking back made Sunday even better, and made it so we had tons of food options for Sunday dinner. 

Our good friends Matt and Josh were coming over to eat and to help us give out candy to the kiddos, so we decided to make a hearty beef brisket and vegetables. 

Mike started off by searing the brisket in our awesome red Le Creuset dutch oven.  We then added a red and white onion, 5 large carrots, and 4 large stalks of celery (and their leafy tops), all chopped up in big chunky pieces.

Mike made this awesome vinaigrette consisting of garlic, rosemary, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper which we also added to the mix.  Finally, we added two cans of whole peeled tomatoes and a small mason jar of homemade chicken stock, which was left over from another Sunday dinner.

Seared brisket

Onions, carrots, and celery

Homemade chicken stock into the pot
Then into the oven it went for about 3.5 to 4 hours.  Here's what dinner looked like:

 Matt and Josh made the potato and broccoli sides.  Yum!

What do you do for Sunday dinner?