Thursday, January 31, 2008

Like Water for Chocolate

If you're looking for a chocolate fix without the calories, Sweet Beauty, a Seattle-based skincare line, should satisfy your craving...or make it worse. Made with organic fair-trade chocolate, these sugar scrubs, facial masques and lip balms smell so good, you'll have to remind yourself not to lick your fingers. Cocoa is the main attraction, but Sweet Beauty products also contain soothing aloe vera, antioxidant-rich pomegranate oil, exfoliating espresso beans and more. So go ahead and treat yourself to a bathtub full of warm milk chocolate, but please don't bring a straw.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Ever since discovering the sheer bliss of New York's Magnolia cupcakes, I've done my best to seek out the equivalent in other cities. While none may ever compare to the great Bleecker Street bakery (due mostly to my own nostalgia), it's fun to taste the sprinkle-covered rainbow.

Today, I ventured out to West Seattle to try some mini-cupcakes at the charming and lengthily-named Coffee to a Tea with Sugar. Not only are their cupcakes absolutely darling, they're really, really good. They come in a variety of flavors: chocolate-chocolate, chocolate-vanilla, vanilla-vanilla, coconut, carrot, strawberry, mocha, German chocolate and more, they're just $1.25 each, and if you stretch it, you'll get three delightful bites.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mmm Mmm Great

Nothing beats a good bowl of soup after a long, hard day. This recipe from Real Simple is savory and soothing.

Hint: Save time by using the meat from a rotisserie chicken purchased at the grocery store.

Tortellini Soup
Recipe courtesy of Real Simple

3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
2 carrots, cut into thin rounds
1/2 bunch Swiss chard, cut crosswise into 1-inch strips
1 8- to 9-ounce package tortellini
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Rinse the chicken pieces and remove the skin. Place them in a large saucepan. Add the broth and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through, about 35 minutes. Skim any foam that rises to the surface. Transfer the chicken to a plate; let cool. Shred the meat; discard the bones.
Meanwhile, strain the broth and return it to the saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the carrots, Swiss chard, tortellini, salt, and pepper. Simmer according to the tortellini's package directions. When the tortellini are done, add the chicken and heat for 3 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
Yield: Makes 4 servings (9 cups)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Stay Classy

Taking classes is one of my favorite ways to stay motivated during this dreary time of year. Currently, my favorite extracurricular is ballet. It works the body and the brain, and I love anything that gives me the excuse to wear legwarmers.

Read my article about unconventional classes here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rainy Day Women

Rainy winter days are the worst. Gray, cold and wet, without the possibility of snow, add up to no fun. It's hard to stay dry and simultaneously display a little style, but these peacock-printed boots by Chooka almost make the rainy days bearable. So go ahead and jump in a puddle, just don't forget your umbrella.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Bride Wore Pink

This Friday and Saturday, Brides Against Breast Cancer brings their nationwide wedding gown sale to Bellevue, WA, just 15 minutes away from downtown Seattle. Designers, manufacturers and individuals donate old and new wedding dresses to the organization. The dresses are then sold at very affordable prices with the proceeds benefiting metastatic breast cancer patients. The organization holds a special place in my heart as I found my own wedding dress at an event held in Savannah. It's a great chance to do some good while looking good on your big day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Search for the Next Great Pajamas

I have a pair of pajama bottoms that I wear practically every night. Affectionately known as "moonbeams" because of their stylish celestial pattern, they have been with me since 1997. They are the softest, most comfortable pants a girl could ask for, but their slow death is beginning to speed up. The little holes in the fabric are getting bigger, and everyone, including my mother, is vocally disgusted by them. So I am trying to gradually transition before I have to say goodbye to my moonbeams forever.

I found this adorable pair of Nick & Nora bottoms at Target. I'm a big fan of the cupcake pattern and the price, but the fabric is not quite soft enough and cropped pj's aren't particularly flattering.
Any suggestions? What are your favorite pajamas like?

Chocolate Fix

Every now and then, I get a craving for chocolate. It's simply unavoidable and so far I've found the best solution is to indulge. The craving will go away if you do. Here's one incredibly rich and simple recipe by Nigella Lawson that will satisfy your cocoa hunger. It's like a lava cake with a crunchy brownie crust, and you've got to love the name.

Recipe courtesy of Nigella Lawson and the Food Network

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, with 60 percent cocoa solids
2 eggs
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Special equipment: 4 (2/3 to 1-cup capacity) ramekins
Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Butter the ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter.
Either in a microwave or in a bowl suspended over a pan over simmering water, melt the dark chocolate and 1 stick butter, then set aside to cool a little.
In another bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar and flour with a hand whisk and beat in the cooled butter and chocolate mixture. Divide the mixture between the 4 buttered ramekins. Bake for about 20 minutes, by which time the tops will be cooked and cracked and the chocolate gooey underneath.
Place each ramekin on a small plate with a teaspoon and serve. Make sure to warn people that these desserts will be HOT!

I find one scoop of vanilla ice cream is the perfect topper as it helps you make your way through the cake's gooey center.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Welcome to my blog. It's my hope that this blog is pure fun, which to me means film, music, fashion, food and all the other little delights of life. As a reader, you're my guest, so feel free to hang out, speak up and take off your shoes.
~ your southern hostess


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