Couples Shopping Corner: Calvin Klein Sunday, Jul 31 2011 

“Would you tell me what the hell is that?”

 

“A dress.”

 

“Says who?”

 

“Calvin Klein.”

 

This exchange between adorably Clueless Cher and her uber-protective father, circa 1995, is but one example of the ever-lasting and timeless appeal of one of America’s favorite native designers.

 

Calvin Klein has been a celebrity favorite since he first popped up on the scene in 1968. For decades, hardly a starlet has graced a People magazine cover without donning one of his creations. Here’s my favorite girl crush Gwyneth Paltrow wearing a Calvin Klein dream on the Academy Awards red carpet a few months ago.

Even if you don’t have a movie premiere or magazine photo shoot to dress for, you can enjoy those jeans and other fashions in your everyday life. Calvin is also a handy go-to for one of life’s trickier shopping situations: dressing you and your guy. You both want to look fabulous, and complement each other without pulling a Justin-Britney denim disaster back in 2001. So if you want your fashion sense (and relationship) to stand the test of time, Calvin Klein is your answer.

 

Their selection of men’s and women’s apparel and accessories is enough to keep any his-and-hers closet stocked with great investment, staple pieces as well as the latest trends. Calvin Klein is one of those great finds that allow you and your favorite guy can enjoy a shopping spree together.

I personally love Calvin’s classic pieces: cotton button downs, soft sweaters and even jeans. These are not only stylish, but they last forever. Stock up on some timeless pieces that will easily transition between every season, and also carry into an effortlessly professional look. Here are some of my favorite Calvin looks.

We know that nothing gets between Brooke Shileds and her Calvins, but when it comes to the guys, they tend to crave a bit more comfort and-ahem- support. Calvin’s line of deliciously soft boxers and briefs will ensure that your favorite guy will have no problem channeling Marky Mark and modeling his Calvin undies for you. So why not pick up a pair and enjoy your eye candy! These are a few of my favorite styles and colors for men’s underwear. Try not to drool.

Media Credits:

Alicia Silverstone photo courtesy of the findbuzz.com

Gwyneth Paltrow photo courtesy of queenbe.com

Brooke Shields photo courtesy of nypost.com

All fashion images courtesy of calvinklein.com

Fitness Focus: Kelly Ripa Thursday, Jul 28 2011 

 

“’Cause she’s Kelly. And she’s Ripa. She’s Kelly Ripa.” To quote the delicious Sean Hayes character Jack on the erstwhile hit Will & Grace, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t adore the adorable morning TV host.

 

Recently, Mrs. Mark Consuelos made ripples when she compared men’s chivalry of paying for dinner to a woman enduring childbirth, and equating the experiences and responsibilities. She’s also made headlines and tabloid covers for her rockin’ bod, with some claiming she’s too thin or too ripped (well, maybe she’s just trying to match her last name!)

 

This former soap actress and mother of three is quite the busy lady. With her morning gig on Live with Regis and Kelly, her 2003 TV sitcom Hope & Faith, those Fruit20 and Electrolux ad campaigns, and taking care of a super hot soap opera actor husband and three kids, she certainly has a lot on her plate.

But from the looks of her, she isn’t eating anything on her plate except salad.

 

The girl is super tiny. And fit. And strong. And buff. While we may not all possess the willpower to stay away from chocolate chip cookies or pizza like Kelly, I’ve delved into discovered some of her surefire workout tips that help her keep that slammin’ body.

 

Shape magazine led a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Kelly’s workout regimen, to find out how she stays so slim. Some reveals:

1. Sitting with your hands behind you, lift your hips up off the floor. Lift the right knee slowly, keeping toes pointed toward the ceiling. Your leg should be bent about 90 degrees. Keep elbows softly bent and then lower hips down to the floor. Repeat several times on each leg. Kelly alternates with both straight and bent arms.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Standing next to a tall counter or chair, balance on your right leg with your toes turned toward the chair/counter. Balancing on your bent right elbow on the chair, raise your left leg off the floor, keeping it parallel to the floor, with your toes pointed and knee bent. In 2 small pulses, bring your leg forward until it is directly in front of you, then do 2 small pulses back to starting position. Do several reps for about 2 minutes, then switch legs. You will feel the burn!

Of course, these are just a few of Kelly’s go-to moves. She also incorporates squats, exercise balls, rolling crunches, surfing and running into her routine. Hit up shape.com to see more of Kelly’s tricks for staying so trim!

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of tv. popcrunch.com

second photo courtesy of daytimeconfidential.com

third & fourth photos courtesy of shape.com

From Today’s Bakery: Chocolate Chip Cookies Wednesday, Jul 27 2011 

Chocolate. Chip. Cookies. Enough said.

Giada de Laurentiis counts chocolate chip cookies and apple pie as two of the most distinguishable “contributions America has made to the culinary world that hold a special place in my heart”.

It’s no secret that everyone loves a good chocolate chip cookie. Whether you like them gooey fresh from the oven, under baked, dunked in milk, or crispy and browned, it’s hard to walk away from a delicious chocolate chip cookie.

Remember on Friends when Monica tried to re-create Phoebe’s grandmother’s secret recipe, only to discover it on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse (I love the way Phoebe says that in her French voice) bag. The proper chocolate chip cookie recipe is as essential to any American kitchen as a mixing bowl and spatula.

Everyone has a secret family recipe. There’s even one on the back of the bag of semi-sweet Ghiradelli chips! I admit, I’ve delighted in scarfing down the raw dough staright from the Nestle Tollhouse “Break and Bake” yellow packaging. But I’ve also taken pride in attempting the homemade, all-American, secret family recipe. In this case, courtesy of my Auntie Amy, my favorite baker from whom I scrounge several recipes (stuffed peppers, chicken pot pie, and others!)

My favorite part-besides devouring the finished product of course- is adding the chips to the finished cookie dough part (maybe because this step requires some taste testing)

My least favorite part? Creating the little balls/discs/shapes of whatever that will eventually form a magical cookie. I hate rubbing them in between the palms of my hands. It feels weird, gooey, unnatural and it almost burns my skin. I know that sounds weird, but I literally feel an incredible urge to wash my hands after rolling only four cookies. I can’t even fill up an entire cookie tray without getting antsy! I tried keeping my hands damp to lessen the stickiness of the dough, but if my hands are too wet, the cookies get too moist and slip off the tray. If I dry them off with a paper towel each time, the little bits of white paper residue then get onto the precious cookie roll! We can’t have that.

Oh, the perils and tribulations of the chocolate chip cookie process.

What’s your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe? Do you have any spcial tricks for keeping the dough off your hands as you roll out the delicious balls of Americana?

Media Credits:

cookie photo courtesy of closetcooking.com

bag of chips courtesy of ghiradelli.com

pic of cookies: MY FINAL PRODUCT, courtesy of my iPhone

Wedding Dress Round Up Monday, Jul 25 2011 

Two of the world’s most recognizable style icons. Two enviably incredible couture wedding gowns.

With the world still aflutter from admiring Kate Middleton’s royal wedding day wonder, and with my own nuptials looming, it seems only natural to delve a bit deeper into the most glamorous days of these two designers’ lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s start chronologically. Mrs. Berman married in 1997, wearing a di-vine Isaac Mizrahi creation. She shared on her hit Bravo TV show that she came up with the idea before she even had the ring, and mentioned in the car to her future hubby and baby daddy that if they got married, she wanted to wear the dress on the cover of Vogue (Isaac’s dress was on the cover in red on Amber Valetta, sharing the cover with Shalom Harlow) That night, she got the rock, and soon after, she got the dress.

The satin gloves and tiara just scream ‘90’s, but for a 25-year old style novice, Rachel seems to have created her own fairytale princess moment. No wonder she has become one of the most watched celebrity stylists, and designer in her own right, creating her fashion empire along the way. It’s as if everything she touches turns to gold like her beloved bangles.

 

Two years later, in June of 1999, Victoria Adams walked down the aisle in a hugely publicized event. The opulent affair rivaled the weddings of royalty, which according to British tabloids, “Posh and Becks” in fact were. To make the day even more adorable, their four-month-old Brooklyn served as the ring bearer. Victoria’s day was the epitome of European elegance: she strutted (oh you know she strutted) down the aisle in a dazzling Vera Wang with a 20-foot train, supported by custom-made shoes created just for the occasion by Manolo Blahnik. She also embraced the ‘90’s trend of regal headgear, although she upped the ante a bit by donning an 18-carat crown as opposed to a demure, bridal tiara.

 

Both Rachel and Victoria enjoyed the royal treatment on their wedding day, with custom-made couture, headpieces dripping in diamonds, and footwear on par with Miss Middleton. It is no wonder they both went on to have incredibly successful careers in fashion.

 

I will not be walking down the aisle in shoes made just for me, but they are Louboutins all the same. My dress was custom-made for my measurements, even if it didn’t land the cover of a magazine. I won’t be donning a tiara or a crown, shockingly enough; I’ll be content with the gardenia gracing my hair. But every bride has her own style, and deserves to feel her very best on her wedding day. That’s what I’m focusing on for my bridal gown inspiration: my own interpretation of all the gorgeous wedding dresses displayed during the years, with my own unique style and comfort of the day.

 

Both fashion empresses (and brand new mamas) set a standard of bridal styles of the rich and fabulous, and we mere mortals can only attempt to emulate and idolize their examples. Isn’t that what great fashion is all about?

 

Oui, c’est magnifique. 

 

Media Credits:

Rachel Zoe photo courtesy of nymag.com

Victoria Beckham photo courtesy of latestcelebrities.com

Rachel Zoe wedding photo courtesy of amouramour.com

Victoria Beckham wedding photo courtesy of bridalwave.tv

Bloglovin Saturday, Jul 23 2011 

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My Key to Cardio Friday, Jul 22 2011 

The time has come to step up the workout routine. I’ve never enjoyed it, but I have discovered and come to crave the endorphin rush of the last three minutes until the end of a nice, sweaty workout.

Since my dress fitting in June, I’ve already lost weight (!), but I know I’m supposed to be toning rather than losing, so we don’t have to give Priscilla’s of Boston another $500 check for alterations. Oh wait, they don’t take checks…ugh, don’t get me started. Anyway, moving on.

I always start my workout on the elliptical. Ever since that dreadful day when I unknowingly removed myself from the treadmill and suffered rug burn but a bigger wound to my ego, I’ve been an elliptical lover. However, I was spoiled at my university’s FAC (admittedly THE nicest gym I will ever belong to), because their elliptical machines came equipped with CardioTV, so I could watch Project Runway, Say Yes to the Dress to keep myself motivated, or, if nothing else was on, Judge Judy. But here in Monterey, this fitness center has one large TV mounted on the wall for all the machines to share, and no headphone plug-ins to actually listen to Rachael Ray while she’s on. (Hey, my fiancé comes with a free gym membership, courtesy of the Navy, so I’m not complaining!)

So, I have discovered the key to enduring my cardio torment: a bright, shiny, glossy magazine. Not thoughts of my wedding dress, or a bikini, or yoga pants, or my wedding dress, or being healthy and fit, or my wedding dress…ok maybe my wedding dress creeps in my mind and motivates me a little.

But whether it’s InStyle, Fitness (talk about motivation!), Shape, (ditto motivation), or even Good Housekeeping, just having something to look at, flip through, focus on and read while sweating it out is better than counting the calories I’ve burned or watching the minutes tick by.

Luckily, the weight training room has mirrors on three sides, so no lack of motivation there!! Wedding dress, wedding dress, wedding dress…

Media Credits:

key photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.com

InStyle photo courtesy of topsocialite.com

Fitness photo courtesy of bumpshack.com

From Today’s Kitchen: Sole a la Grenobloise avec Fried Rice with Kale and Scallions Wednesday, Jul 20 2011 

My obsession with all things Gwyneth Paltrow is no secret. So it was really just a matter of time until I tried something from her fabulous cookbook, My Father’s Daughter. Thanks to the best Maid of Honor ever, my sister Julia, for the gift!

After reading through all her enticing recipes and advice about cooking, I settled on two choices: a fresh fish dish, Sole a la Grenlobloise, with a super-healthy looking side dish of Fried Rice with Kale and Scallions.

First, I looked at her “total and active prep times” (a very much appreciated feature of her book) and figured out that I would need about 30 minutes total to make both dishes. I started to work, but then realized the recipe called to “steam” kale. I do not know how to “steam” anything, let alone kale, which I’ve only recently been introduced to via health foodies everywhere.

But then I realized, I was using my FABULOUS rice cooker (a gift from my mom several months ago that I’ve used maybe twice before this). I could cook the rice in the bottom portion of the rice cooker, and then use the top metal basket thing that I had previously ignored as a silly attachment that I simply could not figure out how to use, to “steam” the kale on top of the rice. Voila! Problem solved! Yummy, steamed kale and delicious cooked brown rice in just 7 minutes.

Dinner was a success. The flour and milk coating for the fish was a bit messy, and I will warn you: sole is not a very flavorful fish, so don’t skip the lemon circles! Also, the smell lingers, so be sure to toss the trash bag right away. What a quick, easy recipe to make a healthy, Gwyneth-inspired evening.

The real hero of the recipe (besides her GOOPness, of course) was my rice cooker. I highly recommend picking one up. I now use it all the time- just throw the rice in for 20 minutes, and it automatically stops once its cooked but keeps it warm until you’re ready to serve it. What could be better? Oh yes, a metal basket on top that steams the kale:)

Media Credits:

Gwyneth: photo courtesy of rickey.org

Gwyneth cookbook: photo of fitperez.com

all food photos from my iPhone

From Today’s Bakery: Banana Nut Bread Wednesday, Jul 20 2011 

I’ve been craving something sweet that won’t wreak havoc on all of my harrowing hours sweating in the gym.

Chocolate ice cream? Good for the sweet tooth, not for the skinny jeans. All those little fiber bars that claim to have chocolate chips or raspberry flavored cheesecake? Sorry, but most of them taste like something the kittens would rather play with than eat.

But, banana bread has always been one of my favorite treats. When I was little, we used to make it in the pumpkin bread-offseason, from the blue Pillsbury box. But at my recent recipe-themed bridal shower, I was lucky enough to receive several delicious looking recipes. I couldn’t wait to try this fruity, fluffy fabulosity. Time to try from scratch! 

Today, I returned home from a very happy nail appointment to a Wifi-free home, so I seized the opportunity throw on my Glee playlist and whip up some baked banana nut goodness. The pink electric hand beaters and pink mixing bowls only added to the fun!

What I’ve learned: lemon juice not so important, but folding in the flour mixture and “creaming the butter”, with the mixer on very low speed, are vital steps! Patience is just as important as the pink beaters.

Results are in: this substituted for our dinner tonight, and in fact turned out to fill dessert’s time slot since Ghiradelli sundaes snucks in there for a celebratory, post-driving range dinner. Hey, not all sweet tooth cravings can be avoided!

Bon Apetit!

Media Credits: all photos from my iPhone

In Honor of Harper Beckham, Here are the Seven Weirdest Celebrity Baby Names… Friday, Jul 15 2011 

Who doesn’t adore the name of Posh and Becks’ newest arrival? For such a glam couple who has shown questionable baby name judgment in the past (Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz, hmmm), this seems perfectly adorable and somewhat normal. On top of that, I know actual people in real life with this name. As in, those not on the Royal Wedding invite list.

However, not all celebrity tykes got as lucky with their moniker. Hollywood’s recent baby boom has brought a new onslaught of odd offspring names.

7. Rachel Zoe & Rodger Berman: Skylar Morrison Berman

The always -fabulous stylist-slash fashion-empress and her business partner husband welcomed their first child in March of this year. While I’m not a huge Rodger fan (what’s up with all the rope jewelry and dark eyeliner?), I have to admit, the 10-carat “push present” now gracing Mama Zoe’s finger was a pretty generous touch. Rodger chose a slightly off-beat name for his surely stylish son, since all the Skylar’s I know are female and spell it with an “e”. With parents as bohemian chic as these two, something tells me little Skylar won’t do too badly in life.

6. Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale: Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale

No doubt this little tyke has a mouthful to say at kindergarten! Back in 2008, rock star Gwen and hubby welcomed a little playmate for big bro Kingston. They raised some eyebrows for the name, and issued a statement explaining they named their second born son for Zumba Beach in Malibu, a sacred career starter spot for dad Gavin. Gwen’s a cool and tough enough mom to intimidate anyone who would mess with this little guy on the playground!

5. Nicole Richie and Joel Madden: Sparrow James Midnight Madden

September 2009 brought the arrival of Nicole Richie’s firstborn son, a culmination of a pregnancy that not only quieted her wild child ways, but defined her laid back, California beach fashion style. Too bad the baby name announcement came hot in the middle of the Pirates of the Caribbean buzz years, more specifically, the worst pirate anyone’s ever heard of: Captain Jack Sparrow. Not a bad figure to emulate, coolness-wise, and it seems like neither Mom or Dad would have a problem with any tattoos in the future. Maybe it’ll be a pirate’s life for the little bird?

4. Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied: Alef

Reports aren’t even certain about the spelling of this little guy’s name (Aleph? Alef?), let alone which talented last name he’ll be sporting. One thing is certain: his first name is unique enough to carry him into celebrity baby stardom. Born just months after his mom snagged her Best Actress Oscar, he has lots to live up to. Representing the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, his name also means “oneness of God”. All of Hollywood is getting antsy for pictures of this blessed one-month old!

3. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin: Moses Martin

The Oscar-winner and GOOP goddess can do no wrong, but it’s not every day you hear a baby named after such a heroic Biblical figure. Granted, he does have two of the most talented people in the world as parents, but when Gwen and hubby bestowed such a name on such a little baby, were they thinking he would grow up to bring God’s law to humanity? Maybe they’ll settle for a super-attractive, British-accented, instrument-playing angel who sings like an angel.

2. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin: Apple Blythe Alison Martin

America’s sweetheart and the Coldplay frontman make the list again: in 2004, their firstborn child made headlines with her unusual fruity title. This “golden delicious” golden child has certainly grown up into quite the little character, as the world watches with a healthy appetite for all that is sure to come of the talented, albeit absurdly named, Paltrow-Martin progeny.

And the winner is…

 

Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and Pete Wentz: Bronx Mowgli Wentz

It’s hard to make the last name “Wentz” sound even clunkier, but Jess’s little sis and her Fall Out Boy succeeded in this feat when they named their son, born in 2008, the weirdest baby name ever! Apparently the New York borough was just not popular enough, and they had to pick the downright ugliest of Kipling’s words to emulate. Here’s hoping little Bronx will be okay with his hefty signature one day!

So there they are, the weirdest celebrity baby names! (So far)

This just in: Kate Hudson felt left out, and wanted to winggle her way onto the list. Here’s a hint: She doesn’t agree when Monica says on Friends, “Nothing goes with “Bing”, so I’m screwed.”

Media Credits:

Skylar Berman: zap2it.blogspot.com

Zuma Rossdale: superficial.com

Sparrow Madden: gobuzzyourself.com

Natalie Portman: popcrunch.com

Moses Martin: popsugar.com

Apple Martin: people.com

Bronx Wentz: people.com

Sun Care Showdown Wednesday, Jul 13 2011 

Pale is so hot right now. Take a hint from porcelain beauties like Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and….what’s that guy’s name who plays Edward Cullen?


(photo courtesy of celebworld.com)

How do these fair-skinned stars keep their skin safe from the sun? I have no idea. But I’m here to tell you, and those on the East Coast suffering the heat wave can attest, the sun is pretty damn strong during the summer months.

(photo courtesy of graphicshunt.com)

The sun can be great for your vegetables, flowers, and who doesn’t love nice tan legs, right? But the UV rays are incredibly damaging, and now more than ever, sun safety is super important. We’ve all been lectured since grade school, so I’ll skip the scary skin cancer statistics and get right to the good stuff. There are so many fabulous products available right now to help keep your delicate skin out of harm’s way and enhance your beauty regimen.

No one likes to sweat in the summer (unless you’re one of those crazy people who runs outside in July whatttt????), so oil-free is the way to go. You don’t want to slather on sunscreen only to have the oil clog our pores and treat you to little blemishes as you hit the beach.

(photo courtesy of aveeno.com)

One of my faves is Aveeno Positively Ageless Sunblock Lotion. I’ve trusted Aveeno for years, but this product goes above and beyond caring for your skin. The SPF 70 is sure to protect even the Ron Weasleys of the gingers from burning, and the special hypoallergenic, waterproof Enviroblock actually helps your face look younger, fresher and healthier. What’s not to love about that?

(photo courtesy of neutrogena.com)

For your face, stick it! Even in the meltiest of months, a girl’s sometimes gotta wear a little bit of makeup. For those days(and nights), you can still arm yourself from harm with Neutrogrena’s Oil Free Sunlock Stick. This is lightweight and loaded with antioxidants, and won’t smudge or cake on your face.

(photo courtesy of nivea.com)

Pucker up! Don’t forget about your kisser during the hot days of salt water sports, sun and sand. If you’ve ever suffered from sunburned, windburned or chapped lips, you know the importance of blocking your lips from the sun. My absolute favorite is Nivea Lip Care A Kiss of Protection, which contains SPF 30 and will keep your lips super soft for those sexy summer nights.

So don’t take any chances this summer! Take it from an oft-burned redhead: it’s worth the extra ten minutes in the car or before you leave the house to layer on the suncare products. A sunburn can ruin even the sexiest of summer activities, if you know what I mean. There’s no excuse not to stock up on the best sun care products out there. If you don’t like these options, be sure to ask your dermatologist what SPF and brands are best for you.

(photo courtesy of fitbrains.com)

Happy Sunning!

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