Movie Monday

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So, what did you think of the Oscars last night? First, Chris Rock nailed it! Second, what was Heidi Klum thinking with that dress?!?! I can’t wait to watch Fashion Police tonight to see what they think.

I did fairly well on My Picks. I kept going back and forth on my Best Picture selection. Spotlight and The Big Short were my favorite films this awards season so I was torn. And I felt a little bad for Sylvester Stalone. Really thought he deserved it.

I did find time this past weekend to see Room. I’m not sure a movie has ever touched me so deeply before. I was shaking, and crying and a big ol’ mess. Brie Larson was amazing but Jacob Tremblay was… I have no words. I can’t believe he didn’t receive an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. I’m going to keep my eyes on this little guy. He is certainly going places.

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My Picks

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The Oscars are Sunday! I try not to wish my weekends away but I can’t contain my excitement. I still have a few films to watch before the big show but luckily I saw that many are available On Demand. Thank you Comcast.

Based on viewings and a little research, my Oscar picks are:

Best Picture The Big Short {saw it, LOVED it}

Best Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant {haven’t seen it, not sure I want to see it}

Best Actress – Brie Larson in Room {hope to see it this evening}

Best Supporting Actor – Sylvester Stallone in Creed {haven’t seen it, should I?}

Best Supporting Actress – Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl {hope to see Saturday night}

Best Director – Alejando G. Inarritu for The Revenant

Best Adapted ScreenplayThe Big Short

Best Original Screenplay Spotlight {my favorite film this awards season}

Best Documentary FeatureAmy

Best Animated Film Inside Out {my nephews loved it!}

What do you think… agree with my picks? Do let me know if I need to see The Revenant. When I saw it was over two and a half hours I was a bit scared. Enjoy this last weekend of February, friends. Spring will be here soon enough!

In the Kitchen

Chilli

Yesterday was my firm’s annual chili competition. And who doesn’t love a food competition?! I tell you, I’ve got a serious competitive streak when it comes to this stuff {explains my addiction to Top Chef, which is hours away}. After submitting my name, I knew the place to go for inspiration. Pinterest. My fountain of youth for all things, really. Knowing that I work with conservative, Type A’s, I knew I wanted to do something a little different. When I stumbled upon a buckwheat and chocolate chili, courtesy of heavenlynnhealthy.com, I knew I had found my winner. And while it wasn’t the prettiest dish I’ve ever made, it certainly was delicious. I followed the recipe to a T but have made notes below on a few modifications I will make next time. And the good news… I took home the prize for Most Creative!

Bean and Buckwheat Chili with Dark Chocolate 

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 fresh chili (next time I will use two… needed a little more heat)
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika powder
  • 2 teaspoons of ground oregano
  • ½ teaspoon of dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon of raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 cup of buckwheat groans
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 1 cup  of walnuts
  • 1 15 oz. can of kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas
  • 3 15 oz cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • ½ cup of apple cider vinegar (next time I will do 1/4 cup… very strong vinegar taste)
  • ¼ cup of red wine
  • ½ regular bar of 70 – 80% dark chocolate

Directions

Start by chopping the onion, crushing the garlic and chopping the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Remove the seeds from the chili and roughly cut it into strings. Finely chop the walnuts.

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, chili, cumin, paprika, oregano, and marjoram and sauté for a minute or two until fragrant. Be careful not to let it burn.

Add the chopped carrots, bell pepper, celery and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes. Now add the buckwheat, beans, walnuts, canned tomatoes, tomato purée, water and salt and let it cook for about 30 minutes on medium heat.

After 30 minutes, add apple cider vinegar and chocolate and stir for another 5 minutes. Add more salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

All in all, the recipe comes together in about an hour. I made it Monday night and served it on Wednesday and I think it really allowed it some time for the flavors to develop. I served it with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, and fresh squeezed lime juice. With the left overs last night, I made a burrito with it and added in avocado. Yummy!

 

 

Shine Bright

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What is it about rainy days that make me so tired? I think I will light some candles and take a nice, relaxing bath. I love candles. And always love when I find a new one. Here are a few you may or may not have heard of.

  • Pieces – Pieces is a fantastic shop in Atlanta that I was finally able to visit on my recent trip. Their signature candles comes in 4 scents. I opted for the Cassis and Bergamot one. It smells just like the Diptyque Baies. Best part is the price… only $32.
  • Maison Louis Marie  – While strolling Newbury Street a few weeks back I stopped in my tracks when I saw that Steven Alan had opened a Boston Store. I literally wanted to buy everything. I restrained myself and only splurged on a Maison’s No. 4 Bois De Balincourt candle. A soy blend with essential oils named after the family home in Balincourt. The notes include cedarwood, sandalwood, vetiver and cinnamom. Delicious!
  • Follain – I am a huge fan of Follain and was excited to receive an email in my inbox this week that they have launched their own original blend candle. The best part, every aspect of our candle – from vegetable wax, to cotton wick, and eco-friendly packaging – is safe for us, and the environment. Truth be told, I haven’t made it to the shop yet but its at the top of my list for weekend errands as I think it will make a wonderful hostess gift.

I hope you are able to take some time for you this evening. And remember, sweet readers… shine bright always!

Found

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I’m switching things up this week and bringing my found item {or rather brand} to you a bit early. DÔEN is a California-based clothing line that embodies the essence of California cool. The Time’s magazine calls it “a casual line that empowers.” You want to learn more, right?

Sisters Margaret and Katherine Kleveland launched the brand two weeks ago after working for years in the fashion industry. These ladies saw not only an opportunity but an imperative to create a line in which women are at the leaders, not just the designers or consumers. Their underlying mission is to improve the role and voice of women in fashion. To further their commitment, DÔEN has partnered with Room to Read and committed to creating a unique children’s piece, each season, where 100% of the profits to benefit this non-for-profit’s mission to promote literacy and gender equality.

I have made it one of my many intentions this year to purchase items that are ethically made and from lines that have a social conscience. And thus I don’t feel bad splurging on this dress for our upcoming trip to Tulum. I encourage you to check out their beautiful site. I promise you’ll find a piece you can’t live without.

 

 

 

Movie Monday

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Happy Monday, sweet readers! What did you do this weekend? We spent ours in the Constitution State visiting dear friends and attending a film festival that blew me away. Have you heard of the Banff ? If not, no worries. I hadn’t till last week.

The Banff Film Festival takes place each fall and features films exploring ground-breaking expeditions and journeys told by filmmakers from around the globe. The World Tour begins days after the Festival and sets out to bring films to fans in over 40 countries. We attended the World Tour stop in Hartford, Connecticut at the Belding Theater. The night was made up of six short films including: 55 Hours in Mexico, Climbing Ice: The Iceland Trifecta, Operation Moffat, Pretty Faces, Unbranded, and Salween Spring. My two favorites included Climbing Ice and Unbranded, which is now available on Netflix. Interested in seeing a film in your state, check out their tour dates here.

Tuesday Travel

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For today’s travel post, I wanted to take the opportunity to share some of the new places that now call Boston home, just like me! I may be biased, but I have to say this city just keeps getting better. Read on and you’ll see why!

Yvonne’s  – A supper club you won’t want to miss. I’ve been three times. I can’t get enough of this place.  Plan ahead as it is nearly impossible to get a dinner reservation past 6 pm. Oh and make sure you check out the women’s powder room. Once you walk in, you will see why.

Whole Heart Provisions – Eat more veggies is what this place is all about. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I have a slight obsession. Their miso bowl with roasted broccoli, smashed cucumber, edamame, shaved brussels sprouts, red cabbage slaw, sesame crunch and orange miso dressing on their rice pilaf blend is out of this world.

Boston General Store  – It’s not like Coolidge Corner needed to make another reason for me to visit. Between The Booksmith, Otto, and the theatre, I’ve always found my way there. This lovely shop packs everything and I mean everything.

SRV – I’ve been wishing for a new and delicious spot to open up in the South End and my wish came true with SRV, located on Columbus and Mass Ave. Their pastas are divine and the space very inviting. It’s the kind of place you just want to hang out at.

Sheppard – Located in the former Chez Henri space off Mass Ave. near Harvard Square, Sheppard is run by two industry veterans: Susan Regis (who has cooked along some of Boston’s most notable chefs) and Rene Becker of Hi-Rise Bakery (one of my favorites). The decor is soothing, the menu approachable and delicious. I kind of wish it were my neighborhood spot.

Templeton General –  My new go-to spot in the Fort Point for all things house and home.

Tiger Mama – The second restaurant from Top Chef alum Tiffani Faison, Tiger Mama is at the top of our list of places to try. All the reviews I’ve heard are amazing. Need to get there stat!

Little Big Diner – Located a hop, skip and a jump from Downtown Boston (in Newton Center), Little Big Diner is inspired eastern Asian cuisine in a few and high energy space. Their steamed pork and cabbage dumplings are some of the best I’ve ever had. Well worth the 15 minute drive.

And before I go, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention two new coffee shops: Curio Coffee in East Cambridge and Gracenote in the Financial District. Both delicious. Planning a trip to Beantown,  remember I’m always here to help!

 

 

 

Movie Monday

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In honor of Valentine’s Day (hope you had a great one), I thought I’d share a little buzz feed list I came across of the 58 Romantic Comedies You Need to See Before You Die. I’m proud to say I’ve seen 34 of these films. To prove my devotion to the rom-com, I’m giving myself a little incentive… I will not see a new movie in the theatre (one of my most favorite things to do) until I cross 5 of these off the list. Bringing up Baby, Roman HolidayBreakfast at Tiffany’sChasing Amy, and High Fidelity will be my picksAnyone wan to join me? I’ll provide the popcorn.

Found

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The Friday before a long weekend always seems to take forever to get here, don’t you think? The good news is we made it. Well done! Any exciting plans this weekend? With record cold heading our way, I foresee lots of snuggling by the fire.

I’m driven by finding the perfect thing. From black pants to the best body cream, I’m always on the hunt and won’t settle for anything less. Case in point, I haven’t had a pair of black winter boots for over three years now. This changed when I found this week’s found item. The No. 6 clog boot. This fully lined shearling boot is super cozy and extremely comfortable. It’s ideal for cold weather and best enjoyed barefoot (which is a total plus for me as I hate socks). The leather is water repellant and the wooden base lacquered. Mine arrived two weeks ago and I haven’t taken them off since I opened the box. Best part, they are made right here in the good old U.S. of A.

Wishing you all a weekend filled with much love!