“Dressing Up” Tuesday, Aug 30 2011 

Originally posted March 22, 2010 on http://www.loyolalooks.wordpress.com

No one dresses up to travel anymore. In a world where self-proclaimed “fashion icons” along the lines of Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan roll out bed and board their international, first-class flights in ragged sweatpants tucked into monstrous UGGs, sporting greasy mops of hair piled carelessly atop their heads, it is nearly impossible to even remember a time of “dressing up” to travel.

 

It is interesting to ponder what life must have been like when people actually cared about how they looked when they traveled. The era of heels, stockings, ties, scarves and designer pantsuits for jetsetters certainly feels long gone by now, but even as recent as the 1960s, travel was a luxury that not everyone could afford.  The acquisition of a plane ticket spoke to status, and travelers would certainly want to live up to their sartorial expectations and don their very best “travel” attire. Those who had the opportunity to travel via air were certainly up to the task of putting forward a stylish traveling outfit.

 

 

 

 

 

In shows like Mad Men, we can see the distinguished look of suits that men chose to wear aboard aircrafts in the glamorous 1960’s. In the classic film The Sound of Music, set in the 1930’s, the escaping von Trapps are almost given away by their “traveling clothes” when stopped by Nazi patrolmen. The fact that their attire was more altered than expected for a prominent family with the noble title of “von” to attend a musical performance speaks to the distinction between clothes meant for traveling and clothes worn for any other occasion.

Those traveling wanted all their aristocratic, sophisticated, stylish, well-to-do comrades to see them in their best clothes, and it became a bit of a fashion show to see who could “one-up” the other when it came to stylish traveling attire. Yes, there was a time when people saved special clothes for special occasions. And traveling was, until recently, considered a special occasion.

Back in the day, there were even regulations on airline stewardess height and weight, which the industry claimed was to promote easy movement throughout the tiny aisles, but let’s face it: they wanted the employees to look good in the tight skirts and low-cut uniform blouses. Call this sexism or snobbism or objectification or whatever, but there is no doubt that this element of “status” and “sophistication” associated with traveling—thanks in large part to the image put forth by the very first stewardesses—was a huge contribution to the boom in commercial aviation. People always want to show off and move up in society, and flying offered wealthy people of the 1960’s a chic avenue to display their impeccable style.

 

Even the word posh derives its roots from the act of traveling in style. During the advent of cruise ships, (think the Titanic, Queen Elizabeth II and liners that Grace Kelly would have taken to Monaco in the 1950’s) only the wealthiest of people could afford steam rail. These “first class” passengers desired to be seen as the most sophisticated and elegant travelers aboard, so they would request a port room for the journey abroad, and then a suite on the starboard side of the ship for their return journey. This practice led to the easy to remember phrase “Port Out Starboard Home= POSH”. Now, to be “posh” means to exude elegance, class, taste and sophisticated style once associated with the luxurious act of sea travel.  And, of course, this is why Victoria Beckham acquired her Spice Girl moniker.

Today, though, when one looks around an airport, it becomes clear the days of posh travel attire are a distant memory. I find it positively depressing and disheartening to look around a boarding gate in the States and see very attractive, obviously well-off people looking completely disheveled and chaotic as they board the plane.

 

With oversize sweatshirts falling off them, or hanging around their waists, while struggling beneath the weight of several overstuffed bags hanging from their shoulders and rolling along behind them, most American travelers are not only unkempt and untidy looking, but they also appear disorganized, which becomes an issue of safety and security, especially when traveling internationally. Not to say that comfort is not important. No one wants to sit in a tiny airplane seat for several hours wearing a binding mini-dress or a restricting necktie.

 

The fashion show days are sadly long gone, and you don’t have to dress to the nines to travel in style, but that is certainly no excuse to look like you literally rolled out of bed to arrive at the airport and in the process dragged half your bedding with you. A pair of well-fitted black knit pants are just as comfortable as a pair of old Juicy sweatpants, yet you look ever so much more refined. Men can easily remove their formal overcoats or blazers once seated on the plane, enjoy the flight in the comfort of a crewneck sweater and feel just as cozy as when covered in a Red Sox sweatshirt. One does not have to sacrifice elegance and sophistication to enjoy a comfortable, relaxing journey.

 

 

Another important element of traveling in elegant comfort is knowing what to bring with you. You just do not need to bring your entire bed with you. If you don’t want to be troubled with a pillow at all but still desire rest during the flight, I find that a soft pashmina or scarf propped up against the window works perfectly well. Another option that I often utilize on flights to tropical weather when leaving Boston snow is traveling in shoes and socks but including flip flops in my carry-on to change into upon landing, as well as throwing a yummy pair of socks in my bag to keep my feet warm for the flight home to a colder climate. There are so many easy, chic alternatives to schlepping unnecessary belongings that there is simply no excuse in this day and age. Victoria Beckham has even admitted that she changes into pajamas (Burberry silk pajama pants, of course) for her long flights between Los Angeles and the UK. However, she always changes from her comfort attire into an undeniably chic dress or pant style for de-boarding and strutting throughout the airport.  This concept of constantly stylish comfort and never looking slovenly is what makes her style so easy and attainable, at whatever budget.

You don’t have to be rich anymore to travel or to look stylish while doing so. Nearly every department, outlet, discount and thrift shop will offer a more tailored, silhouetted option to whatever beat-up sweatshirt you are traveling in. It is certainly worth the money to invest in a purchase that will offer you countless hours of comfort aboard long flights without weighing you down with dowdiness in the process. Luggage is very reasonably priced, and there are dozens of varieties in sizes and colors and styles that will lend themselves nicely to carry-on pieces, ready and waiting to hold your most precious items and on-board comfort items.

You never know whom you might meet on a flight. On a flight to Zurich then en route to Paris, my mother and I encountered the former governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis and his wife. They obviously could not have cared less about my outfit, but I still felt better walking by them not dressed like I was ready to attend a slumber party. It’s also important to dress up if you ever dream of the opportunity of getting bumped up to first class. For long flights, my motto is “Why not ask?” and if you ask the ticket agent at the gate for a first class upgrade while clad in tattered sweatpants and a worn-out dumpy sweatshirt, chances are they will decline even if there is ample space available. But if you dress like you belong (not being too obvious, or uncomfortable, but just sophisticated and put together nicely), you greatly increase your chances of a first class upgrade. This is one of those situations in which if you look like you belong and act like you belong, no one will question you. The worst-case scenario? There’s no room in first class. But at least you tried and gave yourself a fighting chance of experiencing the magic beyond the other side of the drawn curtain.

 

I openly long for the days when style and fashion were important at all—especially to those who decided to put their image on display when traveling internationally to some of the most sophisticated places in the world. So please excuse my snobbish attitude if I scoff a bit when I see tabloid pictures of Lo Bosworth, Mischa Barton or some other faux celebrities who claim to be “so into fashion” or even some (gasp!) who make a side-living as a figurehead fashion “designer,” shuffling through LAX, JFK, CDG and Heathrow looking like nothing more than a homeless vagabond wearing designer sunglasses.

 

Please, bring back the sophisticate travel attire! What are some of your comfortable, stylish travel tips?

 

 

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of ligress.com

second photo courtesy of www.x17online.com

third photo courtesy of rolemommy.com

fourth photo courtesy of coutureinthecity.com

fifth photo courtesy of socialmoms.net

sixth photo courtesy of peoplestylewatch.com

seventh photo courtesy of drfunkenberry.com

eighth photo courtesy of main.stylist.com

ninth photo courtesy of zimbio.com

 

SAG Awards Style: 2010 Red Carpet Edition Tuesday, Aug 30 2011 

Originally posted February 2, 2011 on www.loyolalooks.wordpress.com

Awards season is in full swing, and we’ve got the Fashion Police reports to prove it! Okay, Giuliana Rancic obsession over…moving on to the fashion of Sunday night’s Screen Actor’s Guild Awards. Arguably the most relaxed Red Carpet for film and television stars, TV and film’s most gloriously glammed up celebs came out in the rain to celebrate each other’s achievements on screen, and they all looked pretty fabulous doing so.

Helena Bonham Carter even matched her shoes! Anne and Angelina were absent, but don’t worry, there was plenty of glamour to go around! It’s too hard to pick one clear winner, so I’ll break them up into categories so these ladies can all share the spotlight.

Round I: Young Hollywood kept it fresh and classy, with long, flowing locks. “It Girl” Mila Kunis looked drop dead gorgeous in an Alexander McQueen perfection. She looks so sexy here, it’s hard to believe she actually dated Macauley Culkin for so long. She totally channels the crazy-sexy-fabulous Black Swan vibe in this artistic frock.

TV darling Lea Michele looked a bit, um, bare in this diamond Oscar de la Renta. She certainly has the body to pull this off, but the rumpled bed head and the way she was sticking her chest out made her look like she was trying just a little too hard in the sexpot department, in my opinion. Lea should embrace her youthful elegance and leave the va-va-va-voom moment to fellow nominee Sofia Vergara.

 

Lea’s Glee co-star Dianna Agron might be the luckiest girl in the world, for the sole reason that she got to rock this vintage Chanel number. The dramatic make-up certainly made her look her actual 24 years, and it was a refreshing departure from her natural high school age style. Dianna just has the ability to make you feel like you know her, but she’s still fierce and having a major fashion moment.

My vote for Best Dressed in this round? It’s tough, but Dianna Agron killed it in the ankle-length Chanel and sleek Louboutins. If I had to switch bodies with one SAG attendee for the night, it would be her!

Round II: Hollywood heavyweights brought full glamour and beauty, in neutral tones that let their natural beauty shine through.

The winner of the night, the Star Wars– no more Best Actress Natalie Portman made a huge improvement from her pretty but blah Golden Globes gown. Here, she embraces her adorable baby bump in this elegant, strapless white Azzaro. Her precious, down to earth acceptance speech just made her glow even more. Let’s hope she continues on this fashion path for the Academy Awards!

 

 

Tony Parker, eat your heart out! On the other side of the spectrum, Eva Longoria oozes sex appeal from all sides-literally- in this Georges Hobeika fit for a diva. Even though she always wears her hair in the same beauty queen style, I love it every time. Hard to compete with this little fashion firecracker.

Our final contender tonight is no stranger to the ring, fashion or otherwise. Hilary Swank, in my opinion, pleasantly surprised with a glamorous neutral Versace. The nude chiffon was a bold choice, with her dark skin, light hair and angular features, but I wasn’t expecting much from her, and I think she deserves some recognition for taking a risk. The jewel one-shoulder detail was just enough to soften the look, while not discrediting her hard-as-a-rock body.

This is a tough decision, but I have to continue giving Natalie Portman awards- as if she needs one more- and hand this round to her. Just by comparison to her last Red Carpet, this white, chic style was a breath of fresh air.

Round III: Valentine’s Day is coming up, and stars took notice with their color palette of bold jewel tones and soft pinks.

Julianna Marguiles, big winner for The Good Wife, had a beautiful moment when she thanked her in-laws for producing her husband. The romance carried over to her beautiful red Yves St. Laurent. I don’t love how tightly her hair is pulled back, but she looks pretty flawless here.

 

Another stunningly beautiful mature actress who looked as divine as the 20-year olds, is Social Media Host Angie Harmon. She channeled Black Swan in this delightful Monique Lhuillier. Usually I wouldn’t like so many feathers, but she pulls it off beautifully.

 

 

Another Red Carpet favorite of mine, Mariska Hargitay dazzled in this bright indigo Isaac Mizrahi creation. The color plays off her skin in a stunning contrast, and her hair makes her look like the bombshell she is genetically destined to be. That pop of turquoise accessories? Perfection.

Winner of this round: I know Julianna won the award, and Angie looked flawless, but I can’t get over Mariska’s courageous confidence to rock such a bold color. She looks so effortlessly chic, which just gives that much more credit to her gritty, tough Olivia Benson performance.Ub-sessed.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Red Carpet fashion! Remember, this is all in practice for the Oscars, but sadly, we won’t have all these wonderful TV ladies in the mix, so the game will be all changed up again.

 

Media Credits:

SAG photo courtesy of deadline.com

Mila Kunis photo courtesy of glamour.com

Lea Michele photo courtesy of justjared.buzznet.com

Dianna Agron photo courtesy of thestylester.com

Natalie Portman photo courtesy of glamcheck.com

Eva Longoria photo courtesy of fashionista101.com

Hilary Swank photo courtesy of celebrity-event.com

Julianna Marguiles photo courtesy of socialitelife.com

Angie Harmon photo courtesy of connect.in.com

Mariska Hargitay photo courtesy of nydailynews.com

 

Battle of the Red Carpets Monday, Aug 29 2011 

(originally posted January 27, 2010- transitioning from loyolalooks.wordpress.com )

The advent of awards season always promises the fabulous glitz and glamour we’ve come to expect from Hollywood’s hottest leading ladies and most dashing gents. The first major Red Carpet, the Golden Globes, where the Hollywood Foreign Press honors major acting for both television and film stars, kicked off the fashion extravaganza of the Red Carpet. A week later, the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, affectionately known as the SAGs, followed suit with equally exquisite displays of designer gowns, heavenly couture and of course, a few fashion faux pas. One of my favorite pastimes after scrutinizing both Red Carpet telecasts is to examine one star’s Red Carpet look at the Golden Globes, compare it with the show they put on for the SAGs, and decide which Red Carpet look I loved more! Let the 2010 Battle of the Red Carpets begin!

Let’s start with one of America’s favorite leading ladies, and this year’s big winner so far: Miss Sandra Bullock. Accompanied both times by her husband Jesse James, Sandra proved herself to be very at home on each Red Carpet, and had some people wondering why we haven’t seen more of her during past awards seasons! For the Golden Globes, she chose a divine Bottega Veneta in a bold purple hue, complete with fairy tale glossy skirt.

At the SAGs, she went for a more statuesque look in a stunning black Alexander McQueen. She charmed (and took home the top acting prize for The Blind Side) both evenings, but I personally preferred her more playful, frivolous look at the Golden Globes. I love Sandra because she’s funny and talented and adorable, and this gown really played up that image.

Next up: the fashionable Kate Hudson. Following her recent break-up with A-Rod, it’s no surprise that Kate opted for a crisp white gown for both Red Carpet occasions- she needed something light and refreshing. At the Golden Globes, she debuted a controversial Marchesa piece with a structured, origami look. Not all fashion critics adored this choice, but Kate worked it with such confidence and spunk, you had to admire her.

However, I much preferred her look at the SAGs: the dramatic open back of her elegant Pucci number gave her that “Wow” factor every fashion lover craves, and Kate looked flawless from head to toe.

To introduce a newcomer: Anna Kendrick, nominated for her role the new George Clooney film Up in the Air,dazzled both nightsA Red Carpet first-timer, she took a lot of criticism for her bold Marchesa choice at the Golden Globes- the one-shoulder design and ruffles seemed to overpower her tiny frame. I give her props though for making such a courageous choice for her Red Carpet debut! And don’t we all dream of wearing anything Marchesa? At the SAG awards, she seemed to finally embrace her youthful style, this time appearing in a gorgeous magenta chiffon design by Alberta Ferretti.

So the awards season of 2010 is in full swing, with the Grammys up next and then finally the Grand Madame of all Red Carpets, The Academy Awards. So far, we’ve seen bold and elegant choices from A-list actresses and emerging fashion icons. As viewers and fashion critics, we get to enjoy and salivate over the fruits of Rachel Zoe and other stylists’ labor: the stunning array of designer gowns that sashay down the Red Carpet for our pure enjoyment.

Media Credits:

Sandra Bullock Bottega Veneta photo courtesy of jolienadine.com

Sandra Bullock Alexander McQueen photo courtesy of the fashionpolice.net

Kate Hudson Marchesa photo courtesy of jolienadine.com

Kate Hudson Pucci courtesy of harpers bazaar.com

Anna Kendrick Marchesa photo courtesy of bellemel.com

Anna Kendrick Alberta Ferreti photo courtesy gossipteen.com

Seeing Red Sunday, Aug 28 2011 

Every woman should have a sexy go-to in their closet. Whether it’s the perfect LBD, that killer pair of jeans, or your favorite Louboutins, some pieces have that extraordinary power to transform you from frumpy, frazzled stress case into confident glamorous, girlfriend again! For those occasions that just demand some vibrant glamour, have you ever tried indulging in a Little Red Dress? Often overshadowed by its classically black-hued cousin, a LRD is becoming more and more vital to any fashionista’s wardrobe. (And what’s better than to perfectly complement the sexy red soles of your shoes?:)

The color evokes power, drama, lust, and desire. Don’t wear red when you want to blend into the background or go unnoticed. Red just screams “Look at me!”

 

I’ve always shied away from the bold hue- red was never my color and I was afraid of matching my hair. But lately, I’ve been venturing outside my comfort zone, courtesy of a silky MaxMara top with an asymmetrical off-the-shoulder neckline and gold embellishments. I picked it up a few years ago in Spain, and finally found an occasion to wear it. Sure, red is super popular around Valentine’s Day, but with the right warm shade, you can definitely spice up the neutrals of Fall with a splash of a crimson red. Maybe for an afternoon of apple picking?

 

I’ve always admired redheads who can wear red. Major inspiration comes from Debra Messing, who rocked the color  frequently on Will & Grace and has been seen donning the color matching the Red Carpet as well.

Of course, the most stylish of philanthropic stars grace the stage annually in red gowns to support Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection. Stars of all complexions and hair shades have graced this dazzling color.

Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansen, January Jones and Cameron Diaz have all had magical “red” moments. Maybe red is the new black? It does match the carpet…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Giuliana Rancic in a fabulous Marchesa LRD at 2011 Red Dress Collection.

Showing up for the blondes, gorgeous Desperate Housewife Felicity Huffman looks stunning in Oscar de la Renta at 2010 Red Dress Collection.

A red dress stole the show at the 2011 SAG Awards, when the beautiful Julianna Marguiles rocked this Yves Saint Laurent red frock to win Best Actress for The Good Wife, looking the epitome of class and elegance with her dramatic swept-up hair.

Perhaps my favorite Red Dress Moment on the Red Carpet ever: Nicole Kidman, at the Academy Awards in 2007. Stun-ning!

 

 

What’s your favorite Red Dress moment?

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of fashaddix.com

Debra Messing photo courtesy of ahollywoodactresses.com

Giuliana Rancic photo courtesy of everydayhealth.com

Felicity Huffman photo courtesy of socialitelife.com

Julianna Marguiles photo courtesy of socialitelife.com

Nicole Kidman photo courtesy of marieclaire.com

Shoe Fetish: Vera Wang Lavender Sunday, Aug 28 2011 

There’s something deliciously soothing about lavender. The color, the scent, and the whimsical ambiance all evoke a mood of sensual wonderment.

Which is exactly what you will feel like when you slip your feet into the greatest thing for feet since a spa pedicure. This luxurious indulgence comes courtesy of Vera Wang.

 

I was just re-watching Bride Wars again on TV (hey, I’m six weeks out, at this point we’re calling it research) and Anne Hathaway sums it up with her line “I’m sorry, do you think there is there something better than Vera Wang? Do they keep that next to the “something better than chocolate”? I couldn’t have said it better myself: it just simply doesn’t get any better.

 

You don’t have to spend thousands on one of Vera’s bridal confections to experience the divine dream of Wang. You can give your feet a treat with Vera Wang’s latest footwear line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sexy boots are perfect for a day of Autumn shopping in the city or a night out with your guy. For aneffortlessly feminine feel, try some of the gorgeous ballet flats, in all their divine silkiness. Flats, pumps, wedges- shoes perfect for every season, every outfit and every budget. You don’t even have to venture into Manhattan- you can pick these up at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and other fabulous shoe boutiques.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media Credits:

lavender photo courtesy of suddenlyslimmer.com

all shoe photos courtesy of nordstrom.com

Fitness Focus: Jennifer Aniston Friday, Aug 26 2011 

Perhaps a more appropriate title for this post would be Fitness “Freak”. Because that’s what Jennifer Aniston is. Besides being perhaps the most recognizable face in Hollywood and the Sexiest Woman Alive a few times over, (Details magazine and Daily Motion, just to name a few) she is a fitness fan-a-tic, and has the killer body to prove it.

 

 

She’s famous for her gorgeous hair, her hearty laugh, that ex-husband, her tumultuous love life since then, and her fierce love for her dogs.

That body is just an extra on the list of fabulous things about Jennifer Aniston. To achieve that Holy Grail of a fit body, she takes care of herself through running, and has been one of the most vocal (read: video-starring) celebrities about the mental, physical and spiritual benefits of yoga.

 

According to her friend and yoga guru, Mandy Ingber, and her DVD , Jen’s favorite pose is Tree Pose. This pose truly engages the whole body, working those inner thigh muscles, activating the core, and opening the lungs to breathe in some fresh air. From the looks of her, Jen also spends some serious time in front and side planks, Butterfly pose, Sun Salutations, plie squats with Temple, Warrior poses, and basically any other toning, tough stance you can think of.

(Btw- Mandy has also gone on the record and called Jen a “freak” for being able to hold tree pose longer than she can!)

So what’s the secret of Jen’s success? Is it all that Smart Water she’s been promoting? Perhaps it stems from her inner peace, and ability to center herself and remain calm and balanced despite the hectic chaos swirling around her.  

Balance seems to be the key in Jen’s world. She told the Daily Mirror “Work, exercise, diet, you need balance.” Use whatever word you want-if yoga is the secret to looking this amazing at 42, it’s worth a shot! Sign me up for the next yoga class, please!

 

 

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of thegloss.com

second photo courtesy of munfitnessblog.com

third photo courtesy of celebrityworkoutsanddiets.com

fourth photo courtesy of examiner.com

Snazziest Hand Sanitizer Tuesday, Aug 23 2011 

I remember during the swine flu epidemic when my college class president signed off campus-wide emails with “Peace, Love and Purell”.

Well, thankfully, the outbreaks have passed, but health and hygiene are still of the utmost importance to make sure it stays that way. Vitamin C supplements, lots of rest and plenty of OJ are vital in maintaining your health and to prevent the spread of disease to those around you. With all the terrifying statistics of how many hundreds of germs thrive on doorknobs, pens, the treadmill at the gym, and even your steering wheel, hand sanitization has never been more important.

Luckily, now there are tons of stylish, moisturizing ways to keep your hands safe and your body healthy. Here are some of my favorites:

 

 

 

 1. Purell, the Classic

You can’t go wrong with this army against germs. Eradicate 99.9% of germs every time you spritz. You should keep one of these by your front door, and apply the second you walk in.

2. Gold Bond Ultimate Hand Sanitizer Moisturizer

A more stylish option that you can leave on your desk at work, this lotion doesn’t scream “I KILL GERMS!!!” so you can discreetly apply after shaking hands at the morning meeting or using the copy machine. This also severely moisturizes your hands, so none of that alcohol smell or starchy after-feeling lingers.

 3. Germ –X

This new-age, antibacterial foam wash is great for common spaces where lots of people gather, because you can just leave it next to the sink in the kitchen or by the door.  I love that these come in little purse-perfect packets, and larger tubs of wipes to sanitize your phone, keyboard, or car door handle every morning. ( You simply MUST wipe down any workout equipment before and after each use- benches and hand weights included!)

So there you have it! Hand sanitization at its most stylish and effective. Now there is no excuse for not lathering up every time you leave the house (and come home!) It takes less than 15 seconds to kill germs, but yuckiness leading to colds, staff infections, or the flu takes much longer to treat.

What are some of your favorite hand sanitizers? What is one thing you always make sure to wipe down thoroughly?

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of mlive.com

second photo courtesy of early janitorial.com

third photo courtesy of myotcstore.com

fourth photo courtesy of vijon.com

fifth photo courtesy of medicsites.com

From Today’s Kitchen: Butterfly Basil Chicken Monday, Aug 22 2011 

Sorry, friends! It occurred to me today that in all of my previous From My Kitchen posts, I had neglected to include the original, full recipe! Here I was, raving about how fabulously delicious and nutritious something is, without giving you the secret ingredients and measurement instructions! So sorry, will not happen again. Here is my latest new culinary adventure, again courtesy of Teresa Giudice’s great cookbook Fabulicious.

 

I love this dish because it’s listed under her “Easy and Quick” recipes- perfect for a weeknight when you don’t have hours (or tons of energy) to prepare a feast. This has protein, delicious herb flavors, and zucchini. Need I say more? I highly recommend picking up her cookbook, available on Amazon!

(photo of ingredients on my counter: kitty on table in background not required for dish to come out deliciously!)

 

Here are Teresa’s ingredients and instructions:

4 tbsp EVOO

            1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

            1 tbsp lemon juice

            1 tbsp salt

            ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

            4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

            3 tbsps finely chopped fresh basil

            2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/8 inch-thick rounds

            8 ounces farfalle

            choppd fresh parsley for garnish

 

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsps of oil, the balsamic vinegar, and the lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper and set aside. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on both sides with the chopped basil. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on both sides and the chicken feels firm when pressed in the center (10 to 12 minutes) Transfer to a plate, tent with aluminum foil, and keep warm. Add the remaining tbsp of oil to the skillet and hear over high heat. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain well. Divide the pasta among deep soup bowls. Top each with a chicken breast half, and then equal amounts of the zucchini. Drizzle each serving with the balsamic vinegar mixture. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

 

Since I was cooking for just the two of us, I only used one chicken breast (I made this after Fajita night, when we use the other breast- that way the chicken is only in the fridge for a day)

I didn’t realize how much I loved zucchini until I tried this dish!! I have to say, it’s definitely more my speed than the fiance’s- he’s a steak or burgers kind of guy- but with his crazy stressed out hours at the lab, I’m trying to sneak veggies into his diet as often as I can! Hence the “his” and “hers” portions in bowls!

 

Media Credits:

all photos from my iPhone

Fitness Focus: Elisabeth Hasselbeck Sunday, Aug 21 2011 

This adorable, big-as-a-minute co-host of The View has certainly made a name for herself. She’s become known for her unapologetic attitude, outspoken political views as well as those itsy bitsy Michael Kors outfis she dons every day.

This New England native (yay!) became a huge voice for celiacs, people suffering from gluten intolerance. She has spoken publicly about her struggle, and wrote a book, The G-Free Diet: A Fluten-Free Survival Guide to help others who need to rid their lives of all things gluten.

This means she sustains herself with corn, potatoes, rice, beans, nuts, seeds, soymilk or whole milk, plus lots of fruit and veggies and juices. She’s started a platform about healthy living and not giving up the foods you love, or becoming a social outcast when dining out at restaurants. Her go-to snacks? Almonds, fresh fruits and lots and lots of water.

She’s also a huge workout fan. Married to pro athlete Tim Hasselbeck, Elisabeth is no stranger to strenuous physical activity. She starred on Survivor back in 2001 and in June of 2004 she ran through the busy streets of New York City carrying the Olympic Torch before the games kicked off in Athens, Greece.

The girl has confidence to spare. In 2008, at age 31, she graced the cover of Fitness magazine just 14 weeks (!) after giving birth to her second child (she now has three: Grace, Taylor Thomas and youngest Isaiah) and spoke about her focus toward health, not weight. She shared some of her workout tips, courtesy of La Palestra, which include running, strength training and lots of core strengthening exercises.

But her whole fitness program is dedicated to making her stronger and healthier as a whole person, not focusing on certain trouble areas she wants to fix. She only does a long, luxurious run once a week now, as opposed to running her body into the ground every day like she used to do, in her pre-baby days. Her program stresses the importance of rest days, and that her plan is to “feel renewed, strong, and determined” as a new mom, as opposed to skinny and starving.

It’s working for Elisabeth, so if that’s the secret to looking this slammin’, sign us up!

Whether you agree or disagree with her conservative views or the way she debates on The View, her confidence about her body, and healthy attitude about working out and eating right as a busy mom make Elisabeth Hasselbeck an intriguing, intelligent fitness inspiration.

For more about Elisabeth’s Fitness cover shoot workout tips, check out fitnesmagazine.com

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of askmen.com

second photo courtesy of celebritydietdoctor.com

third photo courtesy of fitnessmagazine.com

fourth photo courtesy of celebritybabies.people.com

fifith photo courtesy of marketwire.com

Bride-Friendly Treats: My Healthy Reese’s Saturday, Aug 20 2011 

In the final 6 weeks of wedding prep, diet becomes of the utmost importance. What I eat affects my skin, energy level, and of course the fit of my dress. Which means chocolate and peanut butter, two of my favorite treats in the world, are off-limits. Sad face.

The sweet tooth doesn’t go away. After dinner, I still want a little treat. Since I’m working so hard at the gym, I need a little something sweet to satisfy me.

Today, I did a little happy dance, because I stumbled upon a wonderfully delicious, chocolatey, peanut buttery piece of goodness.

A few weeks ago, a TV commercial for Nature Valley Granola Thins came across when watching Say Yes to the Dress. My fiancé (I got a good one- he sits with his laptop but watches with me shh!) They just looked so yummy, and I picked some up at the market. I love  the crunchiness Nature Valleys’s granola bars, and these new additions do not disappoint!

But of course, after a long day of work, that Reese’s craving kicked in. However, I was not about to undo all my long hours spent sweating in the gym. So I decided to create my own, healthy, wedding dress-friendly little pseudo- Reese’s concoction.

Instructions: unwrap a Dark Chocolate Granola Thin, unwrap a Peanut Butter Granola Thin, smoosh them together, with crunchy sides facing out, peanut butter touching chocolate, and feel the happiness of peanut butter and chocolate on your tastebuds.

Delicious!!! I can’t get enough. Well, one a day. At 80 calories per Granola Thin, this is certainly a Reese’s-imitation treat I can feel comfortable about.

Chocolate and peanut butter, bride-approved.

Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite healthy indulgences?

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of wedding-reception.com

second photo courtesy of candyandsnacktoday.com

third photo courtesy of the frugalgirls.com

fourth photo courtesy of asweetlife.com

fifth photo courtesy of cookerati.com

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