Friday, April 30, 2010

Weekend Words

“Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest.”
-Christian Dior

Food Friday: Warm Spinach Salad

I have an abundance of spinach in my refrigerator from all the smoothies I’ve been making, so I made a warm spinach salad for dinner this week. For me, a warm salad feels more like a full dinner, and it is simple and fast to make. There are many variations on this salad, but here is the way it’s done in my house.

The trick is to warm the salad dressing before mixing it into the salad. I like onions on my salad, so once they are sautéed, I mix in vinaigrette dressing (a simple olive oil and balsamic mix) and let it simmer. When the steak is cooked, I toss everything into the salad, mix, add feta cheese and enjoy!

"When it comes to your eyes, Popeye trumps Bugs Bunny. While carrots are good for your eyes, they aren't as powerful as spinach. Research shows that your eyes enjoy more protective benefits from the lutein found in spinach than the beta-carotene found in carrots. That's what's up, doc." Dr. Mehmet Oz

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bargain Buys: Cover-Ups

When hitting the beach or pool this season, cover-ups are essential. What I love about cover-ups is that anything goes, and this season is no exception. Whether it's a strapless, a tank, a tunic, or a romper, you can't go wrong. Even though there are beautiful designer cover-ups, I prefer to get something less expensive because the sand and chlorine usually end up destroying my cover-ups by the end of the season. Here are my favorite bargain buys.

Tommy Bahama $88 vs. Burberry $275

Old Navy $15 vs. Betsy Johnson $118

Forever 21 $8 vs. Becca $68

Old Navy $15 vs. Juicy Couture $107

Merona (Target) $18 vs. Trina Turk $107

Forever 21 $20 vs. Becca $68

Roxy $40 vs. Ella Moss $125

Gap $49 vs. Shoshanna $198

Forever 21 $26 vs. Missoni $896

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

White Wednesday

I was excited when Emily Post declared wearing white only between Memorial Day and Labor Day a thing of the past. I am attracted to everything that is white. My car is white, my bedroom is white, my winter coat is white, and I have a million white tops. I bet you can't guess my favorite dress color. I think a white dress exudes class and elegance. During every red carpet event, my pick for the best dressed always ends up to be a woman in white.

Do you still abide by the former "no white after Labor Day" rule?

Katie looks perfect here. This is my favorite dress.

Sophisticated and elegant

My favorite Cameron look.

Soft and feminine

Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn- classic beauties

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Women Who Inspire: Author, Blogger, Reality Star

Shallon Lester

Shallon's First Book

During the filming of Downtown Girls

Shallon Lester is a published author, blogger, and now reality star. After penning a popular sex column in her native California, she moved to New York where she became an editor at FHM and a gossip writer for the New York Daily News and published her first novel, Hot Mess, in 2008. Her second novel, Exes and Ohs: 18 Tales of Vice, Virtue, and a Little Facebook Stalking, will be released next spring. Shallon is also the star of Downtown Girls, an MTV reality series based on her life and misadventures as a single girl in Manhattan. Between filming and spell check, she’s a full time blogger for Glamour magazine and currently has a non-reality television show, Pretty in Punk, in development in conjunction with her writing partner, Nasim Pedrad of Saturday Night Live.

What captivates me about Shallon is her sheer determination and commitment to success. After college she packed up and moved across the country to a city that could make her career dreams come true. And now, after years of hard work and endless dedication, she is achieving her goals and setting new ones. I talked with Shallon about her journey, and how she made it work.

Q: How did you break into the entertainment industry?

A: One key is to make strategic alliances. Only keep people in your life who can help you, whether it’s a supportive friend or a well-connected cousin. Nurture those relationships in a non-pushy way; it doesn’t make you a user, it makes you smart and efficient.

When I was a gossip columnist for the New York Daily News my bosses pitched a reality show idea to a production company, who in turn interviewed me. They passed on my boss’s idea but decided to develop a series around my odd little life and misadventures in Manhattan. We shot a five minute pitch video and MTV decided to buy 6 episodes, so we filmed a season and it will air June 1 at 11pm after The Hills! It’s taken nearly three stressful years but hopefully it’s all about to pay off.

Q: How did you score your first book deal? What prepared you to write a book?

A: I wasn’t an English major in college, but oddly enough I grew the most as a writer as an Associate Editor for FHM magazine. You wouldn’t think a magazine focusing on boobs and beer would be so persnickety, but they were. As for writing Hot Mess, my book partner, Julie, and I were writers for and had written a proposal for a non-fiction guide to post-college life for girls. Julie befriended an editor at Random House who looked at our proposal and like our “voice” and style and offered us a deal if we could turn our vision into a teen fiction novel. So we did! The key to writing a book is outlining. Outlining, outlining, OUTLINING. It sucks but if you don’t do it, your book won’t make any damn sense.

Q: Your blog videos are hilarious. Where do you find your inspiration?

A: I’ve always had the ability to think and talk like a guy, so I look around at what my friends and I are griping about and translate it in a way that dudes can understand. Plus, I get PLENTY of fodder from my own weird, calamitous dating life. How many girls do you know that have dated a guy in the mafia? Or who’s been dumped on Valentine’s Day…twice? Inspiration is the least of my worries.

Q: What advice do you have for women trying to achieve their goals?

A: It sounds corny, but truly, do not give up. Eventually, it WILL pay off. But you have to be willing to make big sacrifices. Me, I’ve watched my friends raking in $200,000+ a year in finance, while I was an impoverished (but published!) writer. But I don’t have any other choice. I can’t not write, I feel like I’m suffocating. If there’s something you feel that strongly about, grab it and don’t let go because that passion is a gift. So many people drift through life with no real goals. Abide by the phrase “Belief makes things real.” Your dominant thought must always be of success.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Women Who Inspire

"It is our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." JK Rowling

In the May issue of Vogue, Anna Wintour states that "[i]t's a terrific time to consider where we have been as women in this country and where we are heading, triumphantly." If there is one thing I have learned during my career, it is to find a great mentor and learn everything you can from them. I love hearing the stories of women who've succeed in making their dream a reality and believe that by hearing other women's success stories, we can become inspired to reach our goals.

I am starting a series called "Women Who Inspire." I will feature women who have reached or are in the process of reaching their goals, who love what they do, and who hope to inspire others to follow their dreams.

Who inspires you? Are you an inspiration?

All About Bandeau

From left to right starting with the top row:
Old Navy $19
Target $14
Victoria's Secret $50
Milly $88
Victoria's Secret $36
American Eagle $49
Markay $54
American Eagle $49
Target $16

The California sun is heating up, and that means two things: (1) sunscreen and (2) swimsuits. This season I am all about the bandeau tankini and bikini. I love bandeau swimsuits because they have a retro vibe and are versatile and fun. During the search for my favorites, I was surprised at how many cute bandeau swimsuits American Eagle has. A trip to the mall might be in order.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Food Friday: Smoothies

What is good for me isn't always what my heart desires (or in the case of salads, never what my heart desires). So, in order to get my share of greens, I've started putting spinach in my smoothies. I love this because (1) I can't taste the spinach (trust me, I have tried by putting in 2-3 handfuls), (2) I get the raw nutritional value of the spinach (as opposed to steaming or cooking out the nutrients), and (3) it is quick and easy!

You can use any concoction for your smoothie, but here are my ingredients:

(1) 2 cubes of ice
(2) 1 cup of yogurt (berry flavored)
(3) 1 banana
(4) 1-2 cups cup of frozen berries
(5) 2 handfuls of spinach
(6) 1 cup of orange juice

Do you have any health tricks?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Beautiful Blogger

The sweet Valerie from Red Vines for Breakfast honored me with the Beautiful Blogger Award. Thanks Val! The rules are to list seven things about myself and then pass it on to other fabulous bloggers.

  1. I love the smell of old books.
  2. My favorite flowers are pink peonies.
  3. I grew up on a farm in the middle of "no-where" California.
  4. My dream kitchen is all white with dark hardwood floors.
  5. I am always happy in Target.
  6. I am a reality show addict.
  7. Britney Spears is my favorite singer.
I am passing this award on to the following amazing bloggers.

(1) Tania at Backwards in High Heels
(2) Rachel at ...It's Simple Love...
(3) Kelle at Enjoying the Small Things