Monday, February 28, 2011

The Oscars are my Superbowl

I have a hangover today. An Oscar hangover. I gorged on red carpet and after party footage and I am feeling it today. I look a hot mess. So worth it though. If you didn't already know, the movies are my THING (well, one of my many things, but still, my THING). I live for awards season.

I started watching the red carpet coverage at 5 (in case you don't follow me on twitter and didn't get the benefit of my rants and raves for 7 hours). Red was definitely the color of the season. A lot of actresses rocked shorter hair as well. Makes me feel better about my own hairtastrophe (I was so horrified by the whole experience I couldn't even bring myself to post pictures of it). Luckily it's just hair and it grows back.

Best Dressed:

Anne Hathaway. Red is lovely on her.


Jennifer Hudson. She looked amazing. Absolutely stunning.


Halle Berry. All I can say about this dress is wow.


Worst Dressed:

Cate Blanchett. WHAT was this?


Nicole Kidman


Honorable Mention:

Reese Witherspoon for best hair. Even though her dress looked like something I would have worn to my junior prom and she resembled the original Barbie, I still thought her hair was a breath of fresh air amidst all the long waves and short do's.


Natalie Portman for the most gorgeous color. With a sea of neutrals and red, her jewel toned dress was gorgeous. But she gets a FAIL for the matchy matchy earrings.


Now for my thoughts on the actual awards. I thought Melissa Leo was an unlikely choice to win, but I'm so glad she did. She was really fantastic in the Fighter. Christian Bale, however, completely stole the movie. His performance (in my opinion anyway) actually stole the entire year in film. As extreme as it may sound, I would nominate him in the best supporting role EVER category if there were one. No one deserved to win more than he did. I also loved his speech and his self deprecation.

I was surprised by the choice for Best Director in Tom Hooper. I thought that The King's Speech would win Best Picture, however, I was really thinking David Fincher had this category locked up. Goes to show how much I know.

Natalie Portman deserved to win Best Actress for Black Swan. No one else even had a chance. And her speech wasn't that bad, as she usually is so stiff and awkward that it's painful to watch. Colin Firth for Best Actor was no surprise either (so much so that I actually had this paragraph written BEFORE he actually won), though I would have preferred just about anyone else. I am not on the Colin Firth bandwagon like the rest of the world, sorry guys, I just don't love him. In truth I really wanted James Franco to win because 127 Hours was absolutely amazing, but I may have been alone with that.

And then what we all really came for...Best Picture. I was hoping and praying for The Fighter. Second best would have been 127 Hours and third would have been the Social Network. I of course knew that The King's Speech was going to win because it has been getting all of the buzz leading up to the Oscars. I am disappointed that it won (I know I may be alone in this one also) but I can't remember the last time the film that I wanted to win actually won.

As far as hosting goes, I think Anne Hathaway and James Franco did a decent job, although, having Billy Crystal as a presenter made me miss him as host. He is by far the best Oscar host. I adore James Franco, though I don't think his personality translates well as a host (he's a little bit of a stoner in case you couldn't tell). Anne Hathaway was personable and funny and all of her dresses were divine. That being said, I hope they go with a single host next year and it's someone with a strong personality. Like Alec Baldwin.

As usual, the ceremony seemed long and there were a lot of categories that no one really cared about and long speeches that dragged on. As much as I love the Oscars, usually by about 9:30 or 10, I am bored and have to multitask.  Does anyone else feel that they drag on and on? Either way, I definitely look forward to the Oscars every year. I try to see every nominee for best picture (which is difficult since they expanded the category) and anticipate the winner for months beforehand. Now I'm kind of sad they are over, because that means no good movies out until the summer blockbusters.

Did your favorites win? Who was your best/worst dressed? Or did you not even watch the Oscars?

P.S. Like The Cookie Battle on facebook! And follow me on Twitter!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Coming Over to the Dark Side

I did something I swore I would never do.

I joined Weight Watchers.

Now hear me out before you get all "I told you so" on me. Prior to WW changing their points system, they focused on calories rather than the nutritional value of food, and while I know I am not the poster child of nutrition (I really love butter), I do eat 80% whole foods. I even attended a WW meeting with my friend Beth last year just to see what the fuss was about and was irritated by all the unhealthy, processed food they peddle at their meetings. Unfortunately, they still do that. However, the focus of the plan now is more on the fiber content of foods, and fruits and most vegetables have 0 points, thus encouraging people to eat more of them.

The catalyst for this decision was my weekly weigh in. After eating my way through the weekend, it was clear that I have a tendency to go overboard and that gluttony has caused me to gain more than I would care to admit. I am still a ways from my heaviest weight ever, but still too close for comfort.

What led me to Weight Watchers was actually a friend of mine who was also looking for a change to her habits, so we decided to do it together. Coupled with my friend Beth who is already a loyal WW member, I have a support system in place to succeed on this plan. I will keep you guys apprised of my progress. My weigh in/meeting day is Wednesday, so expect to see recaps and updates every Thursday going forward. I know this plan has been successful for Beth's Journey, so I hope it will be successful for me also.

I have started out strong so far, with yesterday being the optimal day of food. Breakfast was a yogurt bowl (Chobani Plain 0% yogurt, a whole banana, granola, and honey).

Lunch was leftover turkey chili with a goat cheese medallion mixed in. I was psyched to finally find these at Trader Joe's after seeing everyone in the blog world with them...they are just as fantastic as I imagined they would be. And an awesome addition to my chili.

Dinner was chicken terriyaki stir fry.

I can't wait for this weekend, if the weather is nice, I will be heading outdoors on Sunday for at least 4 miles and I'm EXCITED. Hope you all have a good weekend, I have some fun exciting things planned this weekend to recap for you on Monday!

And now for my shameless plug...I'm sure you all have heard by now that Women's Health Magazine (one of my absolute favs btw) is having a blog contest.

Even though I know I would probably never make the final cut, I figured I would throw my hat in the ring just in case! You never know if you don't take the chance, right? So vote for me here. I don't really know what I would categorize myself as, mostly food with a dash of "other" thrown in ;) I appreciate you guys so much :)

Have you ever tried Weight Watchers? Any good plans for the weekend? What are your favorite blogs? (I need some new ones for my reader).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Steak with Balsamic Glaze

Howdy readers!

Thursday already...isn't it funny how the short weeks always feel the longest? It's been a busy week for me so far, with tonight being my first night to actually be home. Tuesday night the boy and I went to go see I Am Number Four at the imax. Surprisingly the theatre was dead and we managed to slip in right before the movie started and score excellent seats. The movie was pretty good (but of course I liked it, I really enjoy sci-fi-ish things). The two negatives I will say is that the chick from Glee was not all that great and they left the end of the movie open for the sequel. This would be fine if I knew 100% that there was going to be a sequel and I wouldn't have to wait years for it. Otherwise, I like all my loose ends tied up at the end of the movie, you know?

Last night the boy and I scored free tickets to go see the Providence College vs. Notre Dame college basketball game. This excited me because of all sports, basketball is one of my favorites and just about the only one I can enjoy watching no matter who is playing or how long it's on. Plus I love March Madness, which is just around the corner, so this game definitely got me all hyped up for that. Our seats were in the second level.

They weren't bad, but the boy and I had our eye on the prize...two seats unoccupied center court on the lower level. We went for them at halftime and improved our view by a LOT.

We left with just a few minutes left in the game to beat the crowd out, and it apparently ended up being a close game. We had a great time though, especially since it was free besides what it cost us to park ($10).

So onto more food-related business...I discovered a super easy (y'all know I'm all about the easy) recipe that can be thrown together during a busy week and has ingredients that everyone has on hand. Steak with a balsamic glaze. This recipe could easily be subbed with chicken or tofu as well, if you're not into red meat. Pair with your favorite vegetable (the original recipe called for radicchio, which I didn't have, so I just substituted broccoli).

*Adapted from Food Network Magazine.

Start with 2 steaks

Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth

Season steaks with salt and pepper. Spray a grill pan with nonstick spray. Cook the steak for 3 minutes on each side, then flip again to make pretty grill marks and do another 3 minutes. Depending on how thick your steaks are, you may want to go more or less.

Remove steaks from pan and slice thinly.

Add 1 tbsp of butter  and the garlic to the pan. Let the garlic sizzle.

Add a pinch of salt, the sugar and balsamic vinegar and cook for about 1 minute. Add the broth and cook until the sauce thickens.

Drizzle sauce over steak and vegetables.


What's your favorite sport/sporting event? Seen any good movies lately? Do you mind if a movie leaves loose ends for a sequel?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year not Christmas. It's not my birthday (although that is definitely #2).


Every year at this time I come into work and find a lovely surprise on my desk. My shopping bag full of girl scout cookies. Yes, I said a shopping bag. I never order just one box. That would be cookie blasphemy. I did practice a little self restraint this year and only ordered 3 boxes.

Within MINUTES arriving to work, this happened...

You would think it stopped there. Well it didn't. It didn't stop until there was nothing left.

This got me thinking about my favorite seasonal foods and how when I see them, I get so excited that I inhale them like it's going to be my last meal. Here are ten of my favorites for you guys. There are more than just these ten, but you don't necessarily need such an up close and personal view of what a glutton I really am by me giving you the entire list. In no particular order...

1. Girl Scout cookies. Specifically thin mints. Keebler makes a good knock-off version of thin mints, but there really is no substitute for the girl scout brand.

2. Pumpkin butter. As I have mentioned before, I hoard jars of Trader Joe's pumpkin butter. When I finally see them on the shelves in late August, early September, I buy 5 or 6 jars that first day. No joke.

3. Cadbury mini eggs. I bought an 18 ounce bag this past weekend and it's already almost gone. Yes, I have a problem.

4. Summer squash. You can usually find summer squash in the supermarket year round, but really the only time it tastes good is right from a farmer's market in the middle of the summer. It was one of my favorite vegetables growing up and it's the perfect summer veggie as far as I'm concerned.

5. Gingerbread. Nothing says fall and winter like gingerbread. I love baking up some gingerbread and then topping with homemade whipped cream for a treat. Trader Joe's makes a great boxed mix of gingerbread.

6. Candy canes. I love candy canes as they are, but even more so as the topping for chocolate cupcakes with peppermint frosting or peppermint bark.

7. Apple cider (and apple cider donuts!). I love hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick in it and there is nothing better than a hot apple cider donut fresh out of the oven. Yum!

8. Starbucks seasonal coffees like the Gingerbread Latte or Peppermint Mocha. I look forward to Starbucks seasonal drinks like a parolee looks forward to freedom.

9. Egg nog. I only allow myself one carton a year because I don't really like to drink my calories unless it's coffee, but that first glass right around Thanksgiving is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted.

10. Watermelon. Again, you can find this in the supermarket all year long, but it's the best in the dead of summer when you can buy a huge whole watermelon and chop up the juicy center yourself instead of eating it out of a plastic container that was shipped from South America. Nothing in the world beats watermelon.
What is your favorite seasonal food?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Eating Through the Weekend

Sorry for the little hiatus guys! I was way too exhausted from traveling and getting caught up on everything that I didn't have the time or energy to post on Friday, and since yesterday was a holiday, I decided to give myself the day off and enjoy myself blog-free.

My weekend was a whirlwind of activity.  I basically ate my way through the weekend. Friday night was date night with the boy. We started out at Wicked first for a little arancini, pizza, and apple tart (sorry no pictures guys) and then on to Kings in Dedham for a little bowling!

The boy beat me both games, but I was reallllllly close the first game (100 to 102). We had a really great time at Kings...I have to say though that I would never go back on a Friday or Saturday night again because the wait just to get a lane was 45-90 minutes, and when you do finally get a lane, you only have the option to play two strings and then you have to get back in the queue to wait for a new lane. That being said, I did love the atmosphere of the place with the disco ball and the music. And surprisingly, the shoes were not all that disgusting...probably because this location is fairly new and there is only about six months of feet sweat in there instead of years like at other bowling alleys.

Saturday was spent running errands and cleaning the house, doing laundry, etc. Saturday night was reserved for fun! I met Melissa, Julie, Emily, and her friend Emily for a girl's night out. We headed to the Showcase at Legacy Place (yes, second time in two days for me) to see No Strings Attached. I actually really liked this movie a lot more than I thought I would. Typically romantic comedies are rated PG-13 and I'm very much a rated R girl. I like foul language, nudity, and violence in a movie. Lucky for me, this movie was rated R and was quite funny. After the movie, we headed over to Whole Foods for some dinner. My plate:

On my plate was mostly grilled pineapple and the mac n cheese, but also a little mixed veggies and tomato basil chicken. I ate all of the pineapple, mac n cheese, and veggies, but left most of the chicken because there was just too much basil. Don't get me wrong, I like basil, but there was so much in the sauce that it choked me. I just couldn't finish it. Before chowing down, in true blogger fashion, there was photo fun...

We did a lot of chatting, laughing, and gossiping and had a great time! We finally called it quits a little before 10, and as I was on my way home, the boy called on his way home from a party and asked me to stop and pick up some beer, it was drinking time!

Samuel Adams Irish Red for him and Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde for me. I actually spied the Strawberry Blonde by accident as I was trying to decide what I wanted for myself and was so excited. I had forgotten this beer existed and I used to drink it all the time right out of college. It was just as delicious as I remembered and I have found a new beer of choice.

Sunday morning the boy and I slept in naturally, and when we woke up, the boy said he was taking me someplace for breakfast and it was a surprise. Because he's not all that stealthy, I figured it out way before we got there but I was still really happy and excited. We went to Zaftigs in Brookline.


I ordered the Banana Stuffed French Toast with date butter. I said to the boy as I was eating it that this would be my last meal (you know what I mean, the meal you would order if you were on death row...I am this morbid). I wasn't kidding or exaggerating in any way. If you ever have the opportunity to go here, no matter what the wait is (there is always a wait) you must order this dish. You will not be disappointed. Just try not to moan in pleasure a la Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally because the tables are pretty close together and people might stare.


The rest of the day was just spent grocery shopping and hanging out on the couch with my boy. It was the perfect lazy Sunday.

Yesterday was a holiday so I had the day off. I met my gorgeous friend Danielle for lunch at my favorite pizza place ever...Angela's in Saugus. Angela's is famous for it's coal fired pizza and wings. I am not a huge fan of the wings, but I do love the pizza. If you like burnt things, you will love this place.

I ordered a personal size pizza (10") with mozzarella and garlic. Oh my YUM.

Miss Danielle ordered the Ultimo (basically a meat lover's pizza) and just to give you a size comparison, she ordered the small, which is 14" compared to my 10". It looked amazing.

We had a great lunch catching up and oohing and aahing over the pizza. The rest of my day was spent spending a little quality cuddle time with my cats (they were a little perturbed with me for being away for so long) and catching up on my overflowing DVR. The long weekend was just what I needed for a nice recovery from traveling for two weeks.

What did you do with your long weekend? What would your "last meal" be?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Sort of Blogiversary

Today is my last day of training in DC until mid-March. As much as I love DC and think it's one of the most gorgeous cities on the planet, there really is nothing like home. I will be back to my regular blogging schedule tomorrow with more guest posts coming when I come back to DC next month. Thanks to the girls who guest posted while I was away :)

In other news, today is my one year blogiversary!


The reason why I titled this post "my sort of blogiversary" is that while I officially started this blog on February 17th, 2010, I took a long hiatus in the middle. I have been consistently posting since August and that's when I feel my "true" blogiversary is, to be honest. All the same, I have to at least celebrate the formation of an idea that led me to where I am now with this blog.

Reflecting back on the last year and looking back at my older posts, I realize how far I have come with this blog and how many great people I have met in real life and met virtually through this medium. The blog has become so important to me over the last year, and it is something I can honestly say I could not imagine my life without it. It has brought me so much joy and entertained me endlessly. Even if no one read my blog (but am so so so glad you do) I would still do it just because I find it so much fun sharing my life. I hope you continue to read and comment.

On a lighter note, I found a ladybug outside my hotel room this morning. That's supposed to be lucky, right? Or is it only if they land on you?

I get really excited to see ladybugs because that means spring is coming! It has been really warm in DC since I've been here and I am absolutely loving the weather. I know when I go home to Boston it's going to be colder, but I know I have warmer weather to look forward to!

After training yesterday I headed over to CVS to pick up nail clippers and an emery board because I broke a nail and spotted this:

Yes that is correct. They have made a Snuggie for DOGS. I know some of you will be unnaturally happy about this but really? Dogs already have built in snuggies called fur. Ridiculous.

After hijinks at CVS, I decided to have dinner at Boston Market. Yes, I know that there are Boston Markets everywhere and I'm supposed to be eating at area restaurants, but for some reason I have been craving mac n cheese for DAYS. I was hoping the craving would go away, but it was not to be denied, so I finally caved today. I ordered the half white chicken with mac n cheese and green beans.

The mac n cheese hit the spot. The chicken was delicious, and who can turn down cornbread? Who says fast food can't be fresh, delicious, and (kind of) healthy? Ok not really, but at least my chicken was all white meat and I did get a veggie instead of mashed potatoes. Close enough.

While coming out of Boston Market, I spotted this place and knew I had found my dessert:

I got chocolate frozen yogurt with loads of candy toppings. I am well aware that the candy toppings completely cancel out the healthiness of the frozen yogurt and I am perfectly ok with that because it was GOOD.

I'm sure most of this container went straight to my ass and thighs, but if it's any consolation, I only filled the container up half way, so the damage could have been a lot worse. Plus I only have froyo every once in a blue moon so I figure I'm justified in going a little overboard, right??

What are your favorite froyo toppings? What do you do when a craving for something hits you, give in or resist?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ten Things I Love About Traveling

Hello again from DC!

For my ten things post today, I thought I would share with you guys 10 things I love about traveling.

1. Maid service. I love not having to make my own bed or wash my own linens. Plus maids at a hotel always manage to get the sheets tucked in so much tighter than I ever can.

2. Trying out different restaurants.

3. Taking in the sights.

4. Free toiletries.

5. Flying. I know this one is strange because a lot of people don't like flying (the boy included) but I actually kind of love it. I love the rush of take off and I love the excitement of landing in a different place. I love looking out the window as I am flying over a city and flying through the clouds.

6. Airplane snacks.

7. Having a gym in the building. I envy those of you who live in apartment complexes and have a fitness center in your complex. I am one of the laziest girls on the planet. The fact that I don't have to actually drive to the gym gives me an abnormal amount of happiness.

8. Room Service.

9. Quality time with my Kindle.

10. Coming home to these furry faces.

What is your favorite thing about traveling? Are you a nervous flyer?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

City Adventures

Hey guys!

I hope you've been enjoying my guest bloggers over the last week! In case you missed them, you can check out Rachel's delicious Nutella Sandwich Cookies, Allison's take on Multi-Vitamins, and Susan's love for the Black Bean.

Today I bring you a little mini recap of my Saturday in the city with the boy. He had never been so I was really excited to take him in and show him around. Everytime I come here I'm reminded just how much I love it here. It really is my favorite city.

Our goal was to get up early and come in, but a little extra sleep won out. Sometimes that happens. We took the Metro in to Foggy Bottom to start our little tour at the Lincoln Memorial.

We actually happened to visit the memorial on Lincoln's birthday and were a half hour away from a ceremony in his honor. We opted to not stick around for it as it was really crowded in there and we got a late start. From the Lincoln Memorial, we walked to the Vietnam Memorial and then onto the Declaration of Independence Island (not the technical name for it, but close enough) which is a cool little island between the Vietnam and World War II memorials. It has plaques of all the signatures on the Declaration.

From there we headed to one of my favorites, the World War II Memorial. One of the most impressive features of the memorial is actually the fountains, which were empty due to the time of year unfortunately, but I plan on taking the boy back next month when he comes down to visit for the weekend. Each state and US Territory has a stone tower devoted to it. Of course I took a picture of New Hampshire :)

From there we headed over to the Washington Monument.

From the monument, we headed over to the National Mall to vist the Museum of American History and the Museum of Natural History.

Both museums were extremely crowded and by that time, the boy and I needed a break and some food. I was hoping to stumble across a new restaurant to try, but we were so hungry that we walked into the first restaurant we came upon, which happened to be Elephant & Castle, which we have at home in minus points for trying new things but I happen to love Elephant & Castle so it worked out well.

After our late lunch, we headed over to the National Archives to get a peak of our nation's founding documents. This brings back special memories for me. By special, I mean, I almost got escorted out of the archives for accidentally taking a flash picture while inside the rotunda (where they keep all the really important stuff). At the time, back in 2008, photography was allowed if there was no flash. Well now they don't allow any photography. I think it's because of me. Whoops.

We were actually in the Archives for a while because of an extremely annoying father of 3 who was giving his kids a FULL history lesson while looking at the Constitution. Clearly it's a busy place and there is a line forming behind this guy and his three kids. I would say the kids were between 6 and 10. You know as well as I do that those kids could not have given a damn what he was teaching them. They just wanted to get to the gift shop at the Museum of American History to get some space ice cream. (Yes, it's where my mind was while he was talking too). Finally he finished his hour long speech and moved aside. Which was fortunate for him because I was practically murderous at this point. Patience is not my strong suit.

By the time we got out of the Archives, it was actually almost 5, and since everything closes at 5:30pm, we decided to see if we could try to catch a movie and grab some dinner in Bethesda, Maryland. While leaving the Archives, we made a little friend :)

This little guy came up right next to us. Initially, I was a little afraid he was going to bite me, but I really think he was just looking for a snack. I felt bad I didn't have any nuts in my pocket for him. The boy was really excited about him and did a little photoshoot of the squirrel. By photoshoot, I mean he took about 20 pictures of the squirrel. Boys are so funny.

We got to Bethesda and there were no good movies playing at a convenient time, so we opted to grab a couple of drinks before dinner. After reading the menu and creepily peeking in the windows of every restaurant in downtown Bethesda, we finally settled on a steak house for dinner and a dive bar called The Barking Dog for some pre-dinner drinks. I ordered the Kona Longboard on draft and it was delicious. This is actually a fairly common beer I think so if you get the chance, try it out. It has a slightly sweet, fruity taste to it. Excellent.

We headed over to dinner after a few drinks only to discover there was an hour wait for a table and not even standing room at the bar, so we abandoned our plan and just headed over to a local pizza place called Vapiano. Apparently it's an international chain and there is one in Boston, so I'm 0 for 2 in trying local restaurants. The boy and I decided to order the Roasted Tomato & Garlic pizza with mozzarella and goat cheese.

The pizzas are a medium sized, a little bit too big for one, a little bit too small for two. The boy and I had a late lunch so we weren't all that hungry, so one was just enough for us. This pizza was amazing. If you ever stumble in here, order this pizza. There is no sauce, but the mozzarella and goat cheese together is divine and the roasted tomatoes amp up the flavor that much more. The best pizza I've had in a while. I will be craving this in the future, I can feel it. In hindsight, I'm glad there is one in Boston so I don't have to live my life without this pizza.

All in all, it was a long full day, and there was so much we didn't get to see (thankfully I am practically living in DC the rest of the year so we will be going back) but we had a great time and the weather was beautiful.

What is your favorite city or place to visit? Would you ever move for a job?