Monday, August 31, 2009

B Hospitable

When was the last time you went to a dinner party and had a bad time? Seriously... all your friends come together, drink a little, and eat good homemade food. I have always been a fan of this past time but finally have taken into my own hands and become a dinner party hostess. A few tips I have already shared from 'B Gourmet' roll over into this blog but there are a few things you must get down in order to have a successful gathering.

To create our dinner party my roommate and I had to brainstorm what would work. Thankfully I had tried a bruschetta recipe earlier in the week and it was such a hit that we thought we could repeat it. Pretty easy process after your master 'parboiling' those tomatoes. Ever heard of the term 'parboil'? I sure didn't... but there's just another lesson to not let recipe's fancy wording to scare you away. Parboiling is nothing but boiling the food for a short period of time. (Level: EASY!) So bruschetta had our appetizer on the way. Then the boys suggested kabobs. Kabobs? Grilled Chicken and Vegetables on an easy serving skewer. (Level: EASY!) It was a no brainer. We marinated the chicken in an easy lemon pepper marinate (from the bottle, we aren't at the from scratch everything point yet.) Another reason why kabobs are so great? They are vegetarian friendly! When placing on the skewers skip the chicken and add a few more veggies.

We did have a snag in our dinner party of timing. Though I had just come back from a quick day trip away hiking and exploring a near by town our dinner party got to a late start. Our guests came and we were still cooking/beginning to cook. Which brings me to another important point. Have a guest friendly kitchen! I hate those kitchens that are totally in a separate room and no one dares to step in. I say more the merrier! It makes cooking much more appealing for the chef and much more fun. Our guests loved it too. We had plenty of drinks they could mix up and just sit at the table and enjoy our frantic cooking. (3 cooks in the kitchen can get a little out of hand). Another way to keep your guests preoccupied is a few appetizers. I think we have all grown up a bit and learned to love our spinach..... DIP! What a hit and a lifesaver my rooms was for whipping that up before I arrived back home.

And soon it was time for the grilling to begin! Everyone gathered around the grill outside and though it was the most aesthetically pleasing set up since we are missing a backyard but it was a great place to gather for conversation and fun. With a few little bumps of just setbacks and much to do in a little time it couldn't have really gone any better for our first real dinner party of 4 plus people. I am already creating the shopping list in my head for more kitchen needs. Isn't it amazing how everything always goes back to shopping? The things I do for a dazzling dinner party!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

B appreciative

Never underestimate the power of a thank you. How many times a day do you say thank you? 1-2? 3-4? more to 5? I'm talking sincerely generally thank you. Of course I'm sure you're thankful that someone opened a door for you but did you think about writing them a note? The power of a thank you note is much greater then we recognize. I'll admit in the past I have used thank you notes for evil. Well lets not go that far but I was only inclined to send a thank you if I was nervous about how that person perceived me. I had forgotten the art of sending a thank you just cause.

Growing up every year for Christmas my mom would put "Thank You" cards in our stockings. Obviously so that we could write Thank You notes to friends and families for our generous presents. Why did I find this such a chore? The idea of writing a note to more than 5 people sounded tedious and obnoxious. Now as I grow older I am finally realizing how important those 2 words are.

I notice this most when I do not receive a thank you. It may be impolite to expect a thank you but with some things they are a given right? Or they should be but for some they aren't. There are so many words in our language that we take advantage of and Thank and You I am sure are in the top 6 of those. Humility is also a quality that is needed to appreciate the art of thank you. Don't go around being bratty just because someone may or may not have forgotten to say Thank You. It is just my goal now to really work towards using the phrase in its best meaning as webster defines it as "to express gratitude, appreciation, or acknowledgment".

The big upside of sending a thank you? You'll influence others to fall into your footsteps. Who doesn't love to get a card in the mail? Snail mail is just not used anymore so when you get a genuine thank you it could lift your day. You could lift someone elses day. The cards above are from Pinkerton Design. They have some adorable cards for you to send out your next thank you for someone helping you, loving you, or just being!

B Grouchy

or wine! Who says you don't get anything when you 'wine'? I am a big fan the fermented juice of grapes. I love finding unconventional wine labels and open them with my pink wine bottle opener. Yes I said pink! It is one of my favorite past times to get a group of good girlfriends together and open a bottle of wine. This event just happened to occur last night where each of us brought our favorite cheese. A great way to get you out of your brie rut and try something new. Over my weekend as I happened to visit the Napa Valley cheese plates were a plenty!

I grew up around wine. No I didn't live on a vineyard but my parents have always been huge wine enthusiasts. To be honest I really don't know anything about wine. I don't know any of the fancy words to describe, I twirl and smell the aroma for looks, and rarely (never) spit which is said to be the only way to truly taste wine. So here are few things I do know about wine...
  • More creative the label the more likely I am going to pick it up and try it: When I was in Italy a summer ago a winery we visited had a wine called "Fourplay" where their tagline was "It's good for you!" How clever is that? It's be such a great conversation starter.. I also found a great wine named "B Frank" (you think they've been reading my blog?). But on the label you finish the phrase "I'm only drinking with you because..." I have to find a case of this for my next dinner party!
  • Always have a corkscrew handy: Some are surprised to find I don't already own a "wine bottle opener keychain" but I did find that they do exist and may need to make that purchase
  • Buy a cute wine bottle topper: shoes! cities! phrases! monograms! Bottle toppers come in all different types and sizes and you have no reason to have an ugly bottle topper. Think of the bottle of wine as an accessory for your table. Would you put a ugly hat on after working hard on your well put together outfit?
  • Say cheese: It is amazing how much science is involved in wine and food pairings. Certain foods bring out certain tastes in the wines which a great thing to research before a dinner party. Go here to learn more about what wine to pair with your food of choice. Although I do have a strong idea that wine goes with everything regardless!
So there you have it. We may not be sommeliers but go and have a good night and relaxations with some red, white, rose whatever you'd like..
*disclaimer: drink responsibly!*

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

B Connected

This is for all of you who are trying to avoid the internet. What are you thinking? Social Networking is such a wonderful gift, get on board! I recently have received direct recognition for being apart of Twitter. The wonderful store WestElm gifted me a $20 gift card for tweeting about them! Getting rewarded for just saying what you love? I can do this all day...

There are also jobs that are circulating on the network for opportunities to help companies get more involved in "Internet 2.0". This is a great opportunity for those that have caught up on the trend of Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and of course Blogging! Companies who have been around for years need help to make that transition to the digital world. These sites can also help you promote your own ideas and businesses. Being an entrepreneur has never been easier!

Sneak Peak: Blog to come about how my $20 gift card to West Elm is finally putting my redecorating project of my bedroom into action!

B Anxious

Being anxious is typically not one wants but when you're anxious for something as good as Tory Burch's new eyewear collection, how could that be a bad thing? I am a huge fan of Tory Burch. I am a fan on facebook, follow her twitter (@torybuch) and drool over all her bags and shoes. And when Tory Burch just 'twitpic'd' the picture above of the fashion shoot for her new eyewear I got so excited!

Last quarter in school I did a marketing project on Tory Burch the company. It gave me great insight on how Tory has been ahead of the fashion industry. She was quick to jump on the social networking platform with some other designs and is very socially aware. Last Presidential election she created cute tote and t-shirt saying Obama with her signature T Logo Medallion. Tory Burch is a talented designer and someone to keep your 'eye' on (pun intended). Stay tuned for when Tory Burch eyewear collection enters stores. Guaranteed that will be a shopping trip I won't be missing!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

B Obsessed

Anyone been in Anthropologie lately? I walked in today to find a couple hooks to put in my closet and walked out with no hooks and a new dress! They are having a huge sale at the location I was at and saw too many new cute things I needed (wanted). My initial idea was to buy a few eclectic vintage hooks to hang in my closet for my books and scarves. Great idea right? Too bad my obsession with new clothes just over took it. I bought a white summer dress that will be perfect for my trip to San Francisco/Napa this weekend. I can already picture myself wine tasting in my white dress (it'll encourage me to not get sloppy). My biggest obsession I left the store with was a romper! Ugh, it is still on my mind. I never thought I could pull off the romper and so I tried it on for thrills and was surprisingly OBSESSED. Let me create a picture for you...

This romper had a pinstripe halter top with a deep v and gold buttons with a high waisted navy shorts. I am so sorry I can't provide a visual but hopefully I will be able to get back to Anthro this week and make the purchase that I can't get out of my head! Oh and I should probably get those hooks I really do need... Meanwhile check out my white dress I purchased above and of course as Carrie says "you know I'll merchandise it up with some shoes" belt, earrings, bag! Gotta love accessories!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

B Gourmet

For some, it is easier said than done. Some like my mother with no formal training are masterminds in the kitchen. Growing up with a gourmet dinner everynight on the table was a true blessing. but can you imagine what happened when i went off to school and had to fend for myself? "Take-out" was my middle name.

I'm sure you can relate with me when I say I had trouble cooking for one, weary of my skills and didn't know what to cook! It has taken sometime and good food gone bad but I am finally getting the hang of this thing called "cooking".

As I said it took me some time and practice to start feeling a little more comfortable in the kitchen. So to help those who are also kitchen challenged I'll give you some tips I have learned so far. I am far from my mom's status but am getting there one burnt chicken at a time.

1. "Don't be afraid": You may or may not have seen the new "Julie and Julia" trailer floating around but what Julia Child says is true! Its okay, the pan won't bite that's what a splatter screen is for. Don't have one? Get one! They're brilliant!

2. Work on your Algebra Skills: Divide recipes by half. 6 divided by 2 equals 3, get it? This will help you make a great meal but at better proportions for just you. Though you can also make the whole recipe and have great leftovers for the week! Much better for you than that take out...

3. Get a guinea pig: Boyfriends or just your good guy friends are great for this. They'll eat anything. I once made pasta stuffed shells for a boy and oops undercooked the shells (they said AL DENTE!) but let me tell you, they were still eaten and my easy caprese salad made up for it! Though again, don't be afraid they may tell you exactly what they think but it will only have you improve.

4. Surf the kitchen web: Websites like have a billion recipes. Each recipe has a cook time and cooking level. Go for easy first no matter how good that roasted duck looks. Baby steps ladies.. (extra tip- some recipes have short how to videos!)
Here are some other helpful blog/websites: HealthyEats Blog,, KitchenCritic has some of the coolest ideas/appliances for the kitchen, check it out!

Now go and break in that kitchen!

B Stress Free

It is getting to be almost school time for most students. Although myself have been back to school for the last 3 weeks. And soon its already midterm time. Can you believe it? So I have to admit, I have been feeling the stress. Fashion school is tough too! So here are some of my tips for a stress free school season.
  • Go to the Chiropractor or massage therapist: I have gone to the Chiropractor for years and they are amazing at working out all those kinks. This is important to do before the stressful time so you will feel not as tight as your leaned over your laptop. (Also go after the stressful time to release the tension that was created during study sessions)
  • Don't procrastinate: I know we all do it but you know you feel better when you don't! Have a paper coming up? Do research early so that you will know if its the right kind or not! And the last thing you want to do is show up at the library the night before and find your chosen book checked out.
  • Get lots of sleep: This is the prime time where owning a DVR is a must. Don't stay up late watching those re runs of CSI. Record them so that you can go to bed and watch them as a reward once your studying is done.
  • Eat/drink healthy: This usually goes hand in hand with getting lots of sleep. If you did stay up to watch those reruns then chances are a few shots of espresso is going to be your first stop in the morning. While coffee isn't horrible for you, it is healthier to have natural energy which will you can obtain by eating lots of protein and drink water! Stay hydrated when drinking those energy shots.
  • CELEBRATE!: Finally, everyone needs a chance to scream and let loose. Do this right after your last final. Meet your girlfriends for happy hour or take a night in relaxing with a bottle of wine (one glass may not be enough..)
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