If you've just begun looking, on the search, or at your wit's end...this is it. The best gift guide I've seen. One of a kind, independent sellers and boutiques, and all around amazing. Get to Gifted and check it out.
Let's all get some donuts to start the day, shall we? During my college years when my girlfriends and I would make sure the bars were safely and securely closed for the night (don't judge) we would swing by the local donut shop. It was about 3 AM or so when the donuts were whizzing by us on the conveyor belts and we were drooling as each one would go by and the owner of the shop would look at us, shake his head, and bring out a dozen or so for us to feast on. Heaven.
What's it about? In modern-day Paris, a journalist finds her life becoming entwined with a young girl whose family was torn apart during the notorious Vel' d'Hiv Roundup in 1942. The film uses a little known event from French history as a starting point for a deeply affecting drama about guilt, redemption, family secrets, the comfort of strangers, and hope in a time of war and madness. Sound too dark and depressing? I thought so too, but it ultimately proves to be something of an uplifting tale of redemption and forgiveness. Searching for the truth concerning Sarah kept me interested until the final minutes of the film and the performance of Kristin Scott Thomas was excellent as I have come to expect from her in other movies I have her seen her in.
*Based on the best-selling novel by Tatiana de Rosnay
Let me explain. I love to dress up. The kids and adults at my school also seem to enjoy what I wear so I thought "well if they do...maybe others would...I have a blog...why not?"
Now here's where the problem lies--I don't really like to have my picture taken. I'm uber critical about how it turns out but I also love a challenge. That being said; I decided to snap a few pics and see what would happen.
These are all done on a tripod, on a timer, with no one else around to get the groove of playing model. And yes; color me crazy. What I found out was that models have a talent. It's not just good face but knowing how to place your body to get the best result...it's really difficult.
The last shots with the dress and black jacket were on top of the parking garage in our town. Early morning before work and thinking I wouldn't run into anyone. Wrong. The police pulled up and I had to explain...classic.
so...have you been seeing these ads as you kick back and watch your favorite television show? Geez; I feel left out...like I'm the only one not a Mormon around here...he is. she is. he is. she is. Don't get me wrong, some of my best blogger friends are Mormons (and most likely yours too) but it's just interesting to have an ad campaign for a faith, isn't it?
I am searching for a "stick your nose in a book and where did the time go" lengthy novel for our flight to France...suggestions? And if you're planning a long flight or expect layovers during your holiday break might I suggest "I Am Charlotte Simmons" by Tom Wolfe. It's from 2004 and 688 pages and good to the very last period. I read it on a Christmas trip to Mexico and could not put it down.
It was the perfect cold, snowy day for soup. This one is from the healthy soup class that I took recently and it's SO good--husband (who was at best leery of trying this) loved it. Here's the recipe along with a few changes I made. Enjoy!
BUTTERNUT SQUASH, PUMPKIN, AND APPLE SOUP
1 medium butternut squash cut in half
(I used the pre-cut ready to go squash from Costco...so much easier!)
1 TB olive oil
3 cups peeled, chopped apples
1/4 cup shallots minced
1/2 cup leek sliced
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1 (15 oz can) pumpkin
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
3/4 tsp salt
(who knew this would be SO important--tasted it at the end and realized how it needed "something" and that was the salt that I forgot)
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1-2 pinches cayenne
(we like the heat- I used 1/2 tsp.)
Black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place butternut squash, cut side down, on prepared baking paper. Bake for 40 minutes until tender. Let cool for 20 minute or until cool enough to handle. Scoop our 1 cup pulp reserving remainder for another use.
Since my squash was already cut; I poured in a cup or so in a baking pan, added a little butter and roasted it the same way. Super easy. I also used the heated oven for toasting my pumpkin seeds...watch out because they can burn easy!
2.In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add apples, shallots, leek and garlic. Saute for 5-6 minutes or until tender. Stir in rosemary.
3. In blender or food processor, puree the squash, apple mixture, and pumpkin.
I actually used an immersion blender on the mixture after adding the vegetable stock with the other items in the pot...quick and easy.
4. Return puree to Dutch oven. Slowly add vegetable broth, curry powder, salt, cayenne and black pepper, stirring until well combined. Cook over medium heat until well combined. Cook until heated through. Add toasted pumpkin seeds to soup to garnish for serving.
Lots of anti-oxidants, vitamins, fiber and other good for you at this time of year ingredients.
Husband is making blueberry pancakes so I can just play around this morning. Just received a painting from Giselle Gautreau (this is her studio above) and am in love. If you're a guest at casa Benson you'll get to enjoy it in your room. A winter like day today...gray, cloudy, and cool ...but tis the season, no? Thinking Butternut squash/apple soup for supper but we'll see how the day progresses. Enjoy your Sunday!
I've never been a big fan of being naked. Even during cheerleader days or pilates days when the bod was in great shape...I'd rather be seen with clothes on. I remember high school when you had to take a community shower after P.E (cue the prison scene...) I would bolt through the water while others would be scrubbing away. Remember Charlotte in Sex and The City in the steamroom with the girls?! Totally knew where she was coming from. There are some girls (and guys) who do amazingly well in the nude...are you one of them?
When we stay in Paris we will be staying in an apartment that I found through airbnb. The recommendations of others who had rented the apartment helped in our decision and the choices were endless. From one bedroom to an entire house or apartment you can stay all over the world at a fraction of the cost of renting a hotel room. I looked at other apartments offered through leasing agents and the "add-ons" for early arrival, extra towels, etc...just kept adding up so I like the idea of communicating with the owner at airbnb. Have you ever used them for a place to stay?
For people that actually know me, the following scenario will be nothing surprising. For those of you that don't; just enjoy the inside of my brain.
Monday afternoon I was at the local post office in a line of about a dozen people when this song came on:
I begin sizing up the other people in line thinking how great it would be if we could all start rockin out a line dance while we were waiting for the slower than slow post office attendants to call "NEXT!" Dance moves and camera angles were filling my head and I was going to share my youtube viral moment to the young girl in front of me but realized she would most likely label me as psycho. I then realized who I really needed in line with me at that very moment:
DAVID ARQUETTE. If you've seen him on Dancing With The Stars you will totally know where I'm coming from. We all need a David in our lives. And I needed him at the post office.
Happy November! You know what that means...the hustle and bustle of the holiday season will be here before you know it. That being said; husband gave me an early Christmas gift and memories to last a lifetime. We'll be in Paris (the city of lights) and Provence for Christmas! Just the thought of the lights, the sights, the sounds, and the smells fills up my senses. Plans are being made and I can't wait to share what our trip looks like.