Wednesday, January 25, 2012

tax free

The greatest thing about being in New Jersey is the lack of tax on clothes. It really is such a welcomed change! This is probably why I never go shopping in DC. Also, knowing where you can go to get a GREAT deal on the little items you need means a lot! I haven't lived in DC long enough to find those go-to places yet, hopefully one day (soon) that will come. In the mean time, I'll wait until  my trips up North to stock up on necessities.

What type of necessities?

  • Down comforter
  • Pastry cutter (this will come in handy next Christmas... why wait 12 months when I can get it now?!)
  • Meat thermometer that won't melt in the oven. The instant read just isn't cutting it, folks.
  • Pillow covers to keep the feathers in!
  • A wood cutting board because ours has a big 'ol crack in it!
  • A glass pitcher... that plastic one is great for pool side, but not so much for dinner parties!
  • Wine bags, because we like to gift wine and I had nothing to wrap 'em in.

So, where are my go-to places for these items? Home Goods and Amazing Savings

I swear the Home Goods on Route 17 South in Paramus is the mothership. They were selling Missoni Home bed sheets for $255 the other day!! My reason for going there was to buy a new comforter, so when I parked I chose not to get a shopping cart because the more room you have to put things, the more things you usually buy! I promised myself I'd purchase only what I could carry (knowing in advance I'd be carrying a down comforter). Of course my first-stop was the kitchen section... how could I miss that?! The silicone cooking utensils were taunting me, but I resisted! I had a set of sheets (no, not Missoni) in my hands but decided against them because I really don't need them. Even though they were 550 thread count... ahh that sounds soft!

Amazing Savings, if you don't know about it, is like your updated five and dime. It has all of your essentials, for really cheap! I got a nice glass pitcher, a wood cutting board, and wine gift bags (only $0.79 each!). Their crafts aisle usually ends with a stockpile of markers in my cart but I wasn't as impressed on this trip. This is definitely the store where you can easily make excuses for why you need an item you didn't know you needed previously!

But, I'm not done yet... a few more days in New Jersey, I think it's time I stop by the clothing stores! But it's so hard, how do I say goodbye to this face, even if it for just an hour! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

homemade roasted red pepper cream sauce

Last night for dinner I made a homemade roasted red pepper cream sauce with cheese tortellini - a recipe I've been meaning to try out for quite some time! I haven't roasted a bell pepper since Home Economics class in high school - so that was like a blast from the past. This was an easy recipe to put together, simple skill-wise, but a little time consuming. To break it up I had a little snack and a glass of wine, pictured above!

Since I'm only cooking for one this week, this may have been a lot of food to prepare! (I also had a salad with mandarin oranges, avocado, and cucumber.) But I had a great time putting it together. The snack was delicious but perhaps a little too much that close to dinner.

Have you ever roasted a bell pepper before? There are so many things to do with them! You can make sauces, soups, top your salad or sandwich. I don't think I've ever had a yellow, orange or green one roasted though... maybe next time!

Watching the skin blacken under the broiler!

Prep bowls lined up at the stove top... diced, chopped, and measured!

Roasted red pepper, basil, and garlic in olive oil!

After blending the above, add half-and-half, butter, and romano cheese. (Really low cal!)

Cheese tortellini with roasted red pepper cream sauce. Delish!

This guy didn't leave my side while I prepared the whole thing!

Monday, January 23, 2012

winter weather

Finally, some snow! Even though I had to leave DC to experience it. This has been a very mild winter so far. Which makes me a little nervous, because I'm now expecting Mother Nature to rear her cold, blizzarding head for an entire 4-6 weeks and then BOOM, Springtime! If my prediction is right, February is going to be rather unpleasant.

Oh well, in the meantime I'll enjoy this mild January and the fun snow from Saturday!! Lucky, my parents' Labrador Retriever, really enjoyed the snow - we went for a walk, ran around the backyard, played with toys... then relaxed inside with some fabulous wine! Okay, so Lucky had no wine - but my stepfather, mom, and I did. And boy was it delicious!!

I get to babysit this pooch for a whole week!! "Lucky" me :)

So handsome in the white snow!
Time for a walk in the snowy weather!

Cakebread Cellars = Favorite Wine!

Resting inside on a snowy day

Thursday, January 19, 2012

flit, float, flutter

I have run out of creative titles for my flying trapeze escapades, so I referenced for some inspiration (aka "synonyms"). "Flit, float, flutter" reminds me of The Sound of Music and it's such a pretty alliteration.

Week 2 of my Intensive Flying Workshop (IFW) this winter and I'm still working out the kinks for my turn-around (not yet video ready) but I'm seeing a lot of little improvements each week - a good sign!!

I'm starting to fly off a rise (a bar above the platform to lift you higher) - the level of thrill, excitement, and sometimes fright, is reminiscent of my first class over a year ago! Last night I caught the back-end hocks-off, off a first rise with an unassisted take-off. [The formula for the previous sentence is "I caught the {trick}, {platform or above platform, and how high} {whether or not an instructor holds my belt}" -- if that helps!]

And in case you couldn't tell, last night's theme was SPARKLES!

Not sure why it sounds like there's a helicopter hovering over head, I promise there was not.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

weekend in review

The long holiday weekend was really nice and relaxing!! I started it out by painting a new mani, inspired by this post on the Cupcakes and Cashmere blog. And my surfing on Pinterest last week proved really helpful because I came across this fabulous time-saving tip for half-moon manis! The final product is a mixed mani; half-moons, glitter, and ombre.
These great earrings were a Christmas gift from my friend, homemade from lace!
In the car on the way to Friday's
dinner. New haircut all done up!
Ross and I celebrated Restaurant Week in DC with a Friday night dinner at The Prime Rib. I absolutely loved the atmosphere and service at the restaurant, though I'll admit I thought the food would be better. Typically I tell myself that during Restaurant Week restaurants are churning food out faster than usual and catering to an atypical audience so they're not trying as hard (though that sort of defeats the whole purpose of Restaurant Week). I don't expect the meal to be as good as usual, though there are those few times when you're pleasantly surprised, aka Firefly and Kinkeads, that make you think it has to be possible!

Saturday morning we had a great brunch with Ross' mom at Ardeo + Bardeo in Cleveland Park! I've been wanting to try this restaurant since I lived in the neighborhood -- note, I moved out of Cleveland Park more than seven months ago! They offer a bottomless mimosa two-course brunch for just $25 but none of us were that hungry, or thirsty. I chose the Croque Madame and thoroughly enjoyed EVERY bite... it was super delicious! Getting ready for a brunch and day of errands, I went for a casual chic look on Saturday. Ross told me I looked like a horseback rider, which was OK by me because I was on the equestrian team in college, and believe that an equine-inspired look is very polished!
My favorite over-the-knee boots, with Theory peggings (pant leggings, they have pockets & zipper!),
Theory blouse and blazer, Gucci purse, and no makeup!
Following brunch we treated ourselves to a food shopping trip at Whole Foods! Saturday I made pasta with sweet sausage and brocolette. Sunday was Denver Omelet Cups. Monday was an avocado citrus salad and turkey sandwiches -- I'm fairly certain these are the best turkey sandwiches I've ever made and ever tasted!! They were just simply delicious... made on authentic San Francisco sourdough with gouda cheese, baby arugula, sliced red onion, olive oil mayonnaise, and a cranberry orange chutney; yummmmo! -- Wednesday will be a steak and tomato stew in the slow cooker. To finish things off, Thursday will be shrimp and snow peas with rice. (I didn't include tonight, Tuesday, because I'm heading to Marcel's with some coworkers!!) Most of this week's recipes came from the most recent version of Everyday Food, a monthly digest from Martha Stewart - whenever this arrives I'm immediately inspired! I highly suggest a subscription to anybody interested in cooking.
Denver Omelet Cups - hashbrowns, ham steak, onions & red pepper, cheddar cheese, egg!

Citrus and Avocado salad!
Fresh turkey & gouda sandwich!

Back to the weekend... After Whole Foods we found our way to A Litteri, an Italian market in Northeast DC. It reminded me of the Italian markets at home (New Jersey). There were shelves and shelves of wine, tomato sauce, and canned goods (think pepperoncini, olives, etc.). I just picked up a little bit of Italian bread, hot soppresatta (salami-like meat), and fresh mozzarella. From this I created a quick snack before dinner that was so fresh and tasty, and even used the extra bread for homemade croutons at Saturday night's dinner.

Ross' friend Adriel joined us for that dinner, then we all went up to my friend's birthday party!! I brought her some homemade lemon bars for a sweet treat! Not entirely sure where the inspiration came from, but I had all of the ingredients and the lemon bars were fairly painless to bake up. To finish the night, I met up with Ross and Adriel at The Last Exit, a vintage-inspired bar inside Tonic in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood. If you like handmade fancy cocktails, this is the place for you!
Bold pink lips for a night out!
Sunday was the day of rest, and I mean this in the literal sense, not the religious. Some friends came over to join Ross and I for breakfast where I made whole wheat buttermilk pancakes with fresh strawberries and bananas, baked right in!! We served up some orange juice, french press coffee, and hot tea to boot :) Other than that, most of my Sunday consisted of watching movies, napping on the couch, and making Denver Omelet Cups for dinner!!

Ross and I decided to spend Monday out and about in DC!! There are so many great things to do and see, and putting actual time aside makes it so much easier to find our way to these activities. We went to check out the Ice Rink in the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art. The line was bearable but we were 45 minutes away from the next round of skaters being let on. We decided to ditch due to the facts; Ross doesn't really care for skating and I'm not a fan of public skating on small rinks since I used to compete in figure skating as a child. But next year the ice skating path will be open at Canal Park, just two blocks from our front door, and I'm (im)patiently awaiting the first day!!! So instead we hopped across the street and visited the Gallery of Art - one of the Smithsonian's that I had not yet visited. We strolled through the galleries for a few hours then found our way to Teaism for a warm drink on a cold day. From there we meandered to Barnes & Noble where I darted for the Cookbook department (duh!) though later found a book that I am tempted to buy as a gift for someone. Don't know who, just someone, but mostly because I want a reason to read it cover to cover and pass it on. What book was it that caught my attention? The History of the World According to Facebook. Never heard of it? Check it out. You will laugh so hard, I promise!

All in all, it was a great weekend!! Saw lots of friends, cooked lots of food, drank lots of cocktails, and rested! Now I have an exciting week to look forward to; dinner at Marcel's, flying trapeze & live band karaoke, dinner with a friend moving to Seattle, and train up to New Jersey!!

Friday, January 13, 2012


For my birthday, my friends Steve and Genevieve got me a three-month subscription to Birchbox! A great high-end beauty product site offering top of line cosmetics and beauty products. Their subscriptions are fantastic - each month you'll receive a package with about six sample sized products. You definitely get more than one use out of each item and this gives you the opportunity to try them out before you decide to drop some major mula ($$) for the full-size!

December came with a number of great products;
  • "Ageless" perfume that has a sweet, fruity smell
  • Joeur lipglos in a bright pink!
  • Pore-fection, a pore minimizing serum
  • Shimmery dry oil, used to give sheen to your skin and/or hair! This was fun for the holidays :)
  • Show Stoppers, double-sided fashion tape
  • E Boost, high in B vitamins for energy during the day!

January's box, which just arrived this week, came with;

  • Granola from 'wichcraft (one of my favorite NYC sandwich places!)
  • Stila eye liner is a shimmery brown
  • Exfoliating body moisturizer which can also double as a face moisturizers
  • Juicy Couture perfume
  • Facial serum for extra moisture!
The subscription options are great gift ideas! I know I'll be getting this for some friends in the future :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

trend-spotting and trend-setting

The tagline for my blog used to read "..trend-spotting and trend-setting" before I updated it to "'s all about me!" But I'd like to take some time to go back in time, talk about the trend-setting part and focus on a new trend I'm on a mission to start; dark tights and light shoes.

Well, it was a new trend in my eyes... but a quick Google search shows it's actually a combination many fashion bloggers have been contemplating for quite some time. Some of these posts date back to 2010!

I have got to say, I'm with the Daily Diva's POV from a year ago "We love it, and it's a great way to add a pop of color to a dark wintery wardrobe." This is probably why I had no problem leaving the house with brown tights and light beige/taupe Gucci shoes. The tights complement the G's on my pumps so I think that it works.

What are your thoughts on this trend? Love it or leave it??

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


One of my Christmas gifts was a Crock-Pot... thanks Mom!! I just made my second recipe in the slow cooker and ranked it a 7 on a scale of 1-10 where 5 is "Caitlin Normal" and 10 is "Caitlin Amazing, Can't Wait to Make It Again". Ross actually titled this scale because he says "Caitlin Normal" is a lot better than "Normal Normal". So a 5 on this scale is more like an 8 on a normal scale... thanks, hon! ;)

Chicken Tikka Masala from Meal Planning 101 - I don't recall exactly how I came across and decided on this recipe, likely through a Google search and then realizing I never made Indian food but really enjoy eating it!!
Ingredients for the chicken marinade!!

Broiling chicken... look at that flavor!
Some of the ingredients I did not have on hand and actually had to make a special trip to Whole Foods for them since Giant didn't have them in stock; curry paste and garam masala. Other than that, everything was easy to find and use!

This recipe does require some prep work; marinading and broiling the chicken thighs, sauteeing the onions, garlic and ginger. So I did that all the night before and laid out the additional ingredients on the counter along with my measuring spoons so that I could put it all together, hassle-free, at 7:30 a.m.

 Yesterday morning I put everything into the crock-pot on low for 6 hours... it stayed on warm for about another 4. The chicken was so perfectly cooked it fell right off the bone when I stirred in the cream!!
It almost looks authentic!

Monday, January 9, 2012

manicure monday: ombre nails

I'll start off by saying when I saw "Ombre hair OUT ::: Ombre mani IN" on the Betches Love This Over It/Not Over It 2012 post it was totally lost on me. I was very much in the dark on what they were referring to when they said "ombre"... a quick Google search and I found this nifty pic of Lauren Conrad;
Photo from Daily Makeover
Oooohhhh... I like that!! And since I had such a relaxing Sunday at home with my boyfriend I actually found some time to pamper my fingers and toes. After going through all of my polish I settled on purple shades for my first go at this. I am also going to do this in pink/magentas, blues, and grays in the future.

To avoid any mishaps and painting the wrong color on my fingers, I decided to paint my left pinkie then right pinkie, switch colors, paint my left ring finger then right ring finger, etc. My line-up of colors included;
Lincoln Park After Dark, OPI .. Carry On, Essie .. Angora Cardi, Essie .. 
Lady Like, Essie .. St Lucia Lilac, Essie

I like the end result! Although, perhaps a light nude (I'm thinking Barefoot and Topless, Essie) rather than lilac would have worked on my thumb. Oh well... there's always next week!!

PS - I forgot to put on mascara today. Womp womp.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

christmas cards

I can't believe I forgot to put this up last month!! (Paris, NJ, preparing for Christmas... you know this by now!) But better late than never to share our Christmas card! This is my third year doing a semi-homemade card for friends and family. (BTW, my Mom still writes my name on the signature of her cards... something tells me that habit won't change anytime soon, especially since my brother who is 4.5 years older is on there as well!)

Ross and I didn't want to send out a photograph so I drew out a design I found via google.  It was in black and white so I changed it to more accurately depict a tree with red ornaments and a gold star on top! We were really happy with the finished product from Shutterfly -- and so were the recipients! My aunt has told me on more than one occasion... you should get into the business and design cards!

Last year I put together "12 Days of Christmas, DC Style" complete with three branches of government, two political parties, one White House... you get the idea! And before that it was Merry Christmas y'all from my new home in Atlanta. I must go digging for pictures...

trapeze in 2012

I've been learning a three-kick turn-around at trapeze over the past few weeks. This is when I jump off, kick three times (back, forward, back), and turn around -- all within the first swing. So that I am facing the board I jumped off of by the time I get to the height of my first swing. See hand-drawn diagram below!

It's been a long, frustrating process and I haven't had much success with it, so I am going to take a break from it for a while. To try something new this week, I threw the back-end hocks off! I only had three turns left, but it was definitely catchable! See the video below...

When I start my IFW (Intensive Flying Workshop) next week I'll catch this and also determine my flying goals for the coming weeks. I have some of the following in mind...

  • Fly off a riser
  • Continue work on three-kick turnaround
  • Continue progress towards flying out of lines within 12 months 

december in review

December was a slow month for me blogging wise... after Paris, trips to New Jersey, and getting ready for Christmas, then actually celebrating Christmas there was not a lot of time left over, so here I am in 2012 ready to rock and roll! First, a quick recap of late December...

Ross and I had a non-stop Christmas!! We started with my Dad's family on the afternoon of the 24th... celebrated Christmas morning with Ross' family... and finished off the festivities with my Mom's family for Christmas dinner. It was a lot of moving around, but we had a great holiday with lots of love, family, friends, and presents!!

I was really excited to give out gifts this year because I felt that all of the presents were really special and personal. Some of the best received included electric corkscrews (so fun and easy, plus a great conversation starter!), home-cooked meals frozen in individual portions, Michael Aram Christmas ornaments, and a Stuhrling skeleton watch with Roman numerals and alpha-numeric shown below!
I scored this on Gilt!
Also, here are a few things I got in December that I have on me today and I want to talk about...

Orange is my favorite color right now!! It's so bright and friendly ...a fantastic "pop" color. Which is why I was beyond ecstatic when I saw this Hermes Collier de Chien cuff in my stocking!! It's a great statement piece and I can't wait to wear it through all of the seasons. (Just thinking about it paired with white jeans, a white t-shirt, and gold sandals on my upcoming trip to Cabo makes me want to start packing!!)

I also got a Missoni knit scarf :) The instagram filter makes the colors pop a bit more, this scarf is more muted than shown above. It has a great palette with beige, heather gray, black, slate blue, rusty orange, and lavender so it will go with everything! I was glad to have this with me today... the wind whipping around on a 30 degree morning is not pleasant! And now that my hair is a good 4-inches shorter, my neck needed a little more coverage!

The hot pink lipgloss you see is something I'm really excited to talk about! This sample sized Jouer came from Birchbox, and is appropriately called "Birchbox Pink." For my birthday, my friends Steve and Genevieve got me a three-month subscription to this site! Each month I receive a box of samples of high-end beauty products. This let's me try out products before I decide to purchase them. But more to come on Birchbox later... (it deserves it's own post!).

And last but not least... here's an instagram of my new haircut! Truthfully, I'm not crazy about the two blunt layers. I'm more of a blended, long-layers kind of gal. But give this a month to six weeks and I know it'll grow in just right :)