Sunday Night Cocktail – Vesper

Over the weekend, Eric and I decided to watch the latest James Bond film, Quantum of Solace. As a preface to seeing the new film, we watched Casino Royale again as well. I am a huge fan of the James Bond films, and after being so inspired I decided to institute the Sunday Night Cocktail. Eric and I have an extensive liquor cabinet at home and very rarely plumb its depths. As Sunday nights seem to be our at home date night, I felt that it was a perfect opportunity to try out a new cocktail each week. Of course, this week’s inspiration came from Bond himself, the Vesper. Here’s a little backstory from Wikipedia…
“The drink was popularized in the novel Casino Royale (1953) when ordered by its inventor, secret agent James Bond (Agent 007), to commemorate his strong feelings for its namesake, Vesper Lynd. Although there have been a teleplay and two films based on this book, the signature cocktail was only mentioned twice in the recent Casino Royale (2006 Film): when he ordered it at the poker table and several others followed suit, and when Bond states that he named the drink the Vesper, because once he tasted it, it was all he wanted to drink. The cocktail is also mentioned by its ingredients in Quantum of Solace, but Bond does not refer to it by name.

Because these movies were set in the present-day but Kina Lillet has not been available since the early 1980s, its mention in the recipe in these movies is anachronistic.”
Eric purchased the required Lillet Blanc for making the drink back in 2006, when Esquire printed an updated version of the drink. Wikipedia, indicates that the Esquire recipe is slightly off, due to the recipe having been given in measures not ounces. So, here is the Esquire recipe with the required tweaks:
Shake (if you must) with plenty of cracked ice. [Mix] 4 1/2 oz Tanqueray gin, 1 1/2 oz 100-proof Stolichnaya vodka, 3/4 oz Lillet Blanc, 1/8 teaspoon (or less) quinine powder or, in desperation, 2 dashes of bitters. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and twist a large swatch of thin-cut lemon peel over the top.

We lacked the lemon peel garnish, but otherwise the cocktail is an accurate representation. I am not a huge fan of martinis to begin with, but the Vesper wasn’t bad.

Bond laughed. “When I’m…er…concentrating,” he explained, “I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.”

-Ian Fleming, Casino Royale

Vintage Tattoo Style

Yesterday, the subject of tattoos came up in one of the groups I belong to so I thought I’d do a related post. Of course, after posting my new bikini in my last post and getting started on my 101 Things…I’ve got summer on the brain. The Ed Hardy brand by Christian Audigier has really brought back the use of vintage tattoo art into fashion, and in a much more mainstream way than has been seen previously. I love his pieces, including the Eternal Love bikini above. You may recognize this as having been worn by Heidi on The Hills. I’ve also mentioned the Ed Hardy sunglasses here, but I am still wanting a pair.
The Ed Hardy brand uses the typical tattoo iconography of roses, skulls, dragons, snakes, hearts, etc.
This type of tattoo art began as a sailor’s way of documenting the symbolism of a life at sea. The swallow for example, so prevalent in tattoo art, was a way to document that he had sailed over 5,000 nautical miles.
I just recently bought this swallow necklace for myself. Love it!

And you can find cool tattoo stuff at Sailor Jerry’s too. Check out this cool swallow bag.

And I’m loving the jewelry designs by this etsy artist.

Oh, and I can’t forget to show you one of my favorite halters…

Love it!
You can even find amazing retro dresses like the one above, made by Jezebelle. Here’s a closeup view of the fabric, which is also readily available by the yard.

Of course, no one can beat Kat von D for coolness factor.

She’s even designed a line for Sephora.

So, no excuses…now you can add a little vintage tattoo style into your life too!


101 Things in 1001 Days

In 2006 I set off on a new adventure called 101 Things in 1001 Days. Probably everyone out in blogland has heard of this and already have their own lists by now. My 1001st day was March 17, 2009. I completed 42 of the 101 items on my list. I think 42 is a pretty great accomplishment, especially considering some of the things I had on that list including: begin contributing to 401k, set up a will and power of attorney, learn CPR, lose 10% of my weight, have a physical, get a new passport with my married name, start a blog, research and pay off credit card balance, take an anniversary trip for our first anniversary, have an eye exam, and of course – re-read books 1-6 of Harry Potter before book 7 comes out. So, I feel really good about the things I accomplished. And overall I learned alot about myself through the process, and I learned that life can change drastically in 2.75 years. But, having completed the first 1001 I decided to give it another go. I’ll be starting my new list on Sunday, March 22, 2009 (tomorrow). I’m excited to get started although I know I’ve set some real challenges for myself. I feel like in the past several years, I have really done a huge overhaul on myself and my life. I managed to get myself out of debt and to stay out of it, which had been a constant theme throughout my adult life. I also quit smoking several years ago (9 years ago in fact), and that made a huge change in my life. I am hoping that through this next 1001 days I can conquer the last piece of changing my life that I have been truly struggling with…and that is losing the extra weight and being fit and healthy. It’s going to take lifestyle changes and a LOT of hard work, but I think I am finally ready. So, in the next 1001 days I invite you to join in my journey that will involve some reading, some crafting, some decorating, some travel, some family and personal stuff, but mostly getting to be the person I’ve wanted to be. Eric’s created a countdown clock for me over in my sidebar, and the end date is December 18, 2011. I’ll be journaling about the process here I’m sure, as well as documenting the items that I cross off my list as that happens.

In January, I bought myself something for a little incentive…

this cute bikini from Victoria’s Secret. I can’t wait to fit into it and feel comfortable enough to go out in public. I haven’t worn a bikini since high school!! But I love love love this and especially with the stars, it will keep me going by the thought of getting to wear it. So, wish me luck and Day 1 starts tomorrow…

Wardrobe Picks No. 9

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted any of my wardrobe picks. In fact, I debated deleting the posts I had done of them. I took these photos some time ago, but I quit taking new ones for a few reasons – 1) I got tired of posting photos of the same exact outfits over and over 2) I wasn’t happy with the way my clothes fit me 2) I’ve gained back some of the weight I’d lost and didn’t want to really “see” that. So, for now I’m going to go ahead and post these photos I’d already taken and then we’ll see where I go from here. Part of what came into play with my decision about whether or not to delete the old posts was my plan to begin another 101 Things in 1001 Days list. One of the items on there is to photograph myself, weigh myself and measure myself at the beginning, middle and end of the 1001 days. The goal of that is to hopefully see a huge change toward being more fit and healthy in the next three years. I was contemplating posting that here, since I intend to keep a record of my 1001 days on this blog. And that gave me pause to think about my Wardrobe Pick posts. I’ll think about how I want to move forward with that, but for now I’ll leave the posts as they are. And so, in that vein, I thought I’d go ahead and post the photos I had already taken, but had been languishing on my computer.

This is what I wore to Eric’s graduation (MBA). I was taking some advice and guidance from a fashionista I idolize. She had suggested pairing this top with the black skirt, my Mary Janes and a white bag with black trim. Well, I didn’t have a white bag with black trim, so I made do with just white. Such an interesting choice. I would never have picked it myself, but I liked it. She also suggested to shorten the length of my skirt. It’s something I’ll think about for future purchases.

I love this blouse, and had never worn it before. So, I’m glad she suggested I wear it. I chose to accessorize with my pearl and diamond white gold necklace and earrings.

I went with the white bag again here. I usually leave this top as is, but this time decided to belt it. Not sure how comfortable I was with it, but it was something different to try. I do love this skirt.

I love these earrings. I think either my mom or my sister bought these for me.

This outfit was a huge stretch for me style-wise. But, it is probably my favorite. This was a suggested outfit as well. I paired the turquoise top with brown pants and burgundy patent heels. The camel bag was added in too. I think I tend to be too matchy matchy. I’ve worn the turquoise with the brown pants before, but went with brown heels and a brown purse. I love the mix in this. My fashionista guru also mentioned my pants are way too short. So, that’s another thing I’ll be looking for in future purchases. But for now, I’ll make do. I just have to make sure to wear pretty shoes.

Another suggested outfit. Lavender top, white eyelet skirt, Ralph Lauren heels, camel bag. I like this outfit as well. It’s casual dressy, if there is such a thing. I think the skirt should have been ironed though.

I accessorized with this necklace and earring set that I just love.

I’m ok with this outfit, but not overly excited. Red top, black pants, black heels, Guess bag.

I accessorized with my three-tone gold necklace.

This one I liked. I came up with this on my own, and again I thought it was a good mix. The pale pink top I love, but I think I’m about to the point of not being able to wear it because the arm holes are getting way too big. I put on a big belt that is a favorite of mine, black pants, black mules. I believe I wore my silver feather earrings with this.

This is my Devil Wears Prada outfit. Dress, Mary Janes, Gold necklace. See? (Second from the bottom.) Love it.

This outfit isn’t bad either. In fact, I wore these heels with this top and a pair of jeans and loved that look. These are probably one of my favorite pairs of shoes. They have a big button on the ankle strap. They are fabulous!

You can see my fabulous You Don’t Know Jacques OPI polish here. I love love love this smoky color! Need to buy a bottle, methinks! I wore a handmade piece (not by me) with this, just for something kinda funky with the classic skirt and white blouse.

Ok, so that’s it for all the wardrobe picks I hadn’t yet posted. I hope that in the future I can get over feeling intimidated by all those fashionistas who I feel have so much more style and such better looks that I have. It is a constant learning opportunity for me. I stumbled across a new to me blog today too…she has such great style. Go and take a look!


Style Scan

I know I am surely not the only one who has a love of magazines. I end up with a pile of them every month that includes fashion, crafting, fitness and decor. As I read through my magazines, I tear out items of interest for later reference – just anything that catches my eye. Over the years I’ve amassed a vast amount of torn out pages of inspiration. In an effort to cut down on the amount of paper I have in my office at home, as well as to attempt to organize myself I thought I would begin scanning these pages so that I can keep what I want to keep electronically. It’s not a really fun task, so in order to add a little perk to it I decided to share some of my finds here on a weekly basis. That will give me the incentive to do the scanning and I might come across things I’d forgotten I couldn’t live without. So, today I bring you the first edition of Style Scan. Who knows what next week will bring!

When I saw this orange bag from The Gap, and the associated price tag, my immediate thought was “why the hell didn’t I get one of these?”. I love the shape of it, slouchy and cute.
I also came across this zebra laptop bag. Definitely fun and funky. Could you imagine strolling into work with this…love it.
I am still totally in love with this Chanel polish. I just can’t seem to get myself to a point where I think I could get away with this at work…maybe on my toes…hmm. I may have to spring for a bottle. I’ve yet to try Chanel Laquer…it might be time.
I’d also like to give this Venom lip balm a try. I used to have some fabulous MAC lip gloss that I believe had a little something in it…I can’t find it to save my life and I loved that lip gloss! Anyway, I’ll have to look into Venom. They had me at “Blake Lively”.
Cole Haan Mary Janes…need I say more?
And this super cute outfit I just fell in love with. The emerald green bag did it for me. But I love those t-strap heels too. This is so fun and flirty and perfect for party-going. I’m going to work on pulling together a look like this.

So that wraps up this week’s edition of Style Scan. Join me again next week!


A Little Romance

A few months ago, I decided to do a little mixing it up in the bedroom but for some reason never shared the photos. Although, there was a little peek here with the new curtains I installed in here. Anyway, the Valentine’s Day gift I made for Eric was what prompted me to show you the other changes I’d made in here. First off, I really wanted to get some more height on the accessories on this chest of drawers, but hadn’t really figured out how to do it. Of course, the first thing I did was to add the quilt over the chest, which helped a bit. The next thing I did was to bring up some leather bound books from downstairs and begin scattering them about the room. I love the rich feel they bring. I used two of them to add a little height to my Isis sculpture (Erté). I think the color of the books are perfect in here too.
I added some to the cabinet as well. The sculptures looked rather lost in the shelf due to its depth, and I think the books really help that. I’d like to fill in the gap in the middle there, but I ran out of books. I have some more in storage that I need to bring home. And then I can make use of those.
(Those speakers are top on my list to replace…they’ve seen way better days!)
The gold on the spines really works with the gold on the sculptures (more Erté). I also added a couple of books beneath my Harmony Kingdom pieces to give them a little height too. The Harmony Kingdom boxes I have in our bedroom are all Romance Annual pieces. I wanted this to be a place of romance! (Sorry for the blurry pic)
And finally, the pièce de résistance, the gift I made for Eric for Valentine’s Day. This is a piece called, My Everything. At the bottom I put our initials and the year. The frame was a ready-made frame from Joanne’s that contained “art”. I cannibalized it and it worked like it was made for this piece – mat and all. Perfection!

I wanted to hang it on the wall between our bathroom door and the bedroom door, since that wall was looking a bit bare.
Already hanging there was the pewter heart that I gave to Eric two years ago for Valentine’s Day.
I’d love a third piece here, but haven’t landed on the perfect thing. It will come to me. Since taking these photos I’ve also made two additional changes…I added a quilt rack that holds our wedding quilt because I really wanted it out where we could see it and enjoy it. The room is a bit small for that piece, but I’m making it work. I also added a heart-shaped crystal votive holder to my nightstand. It’s a special piece and it had been down in the living room on a bookshelf. When I redid the living room (photos to come), Eric suggested that it move up here. It works perfectly on my nightstand with the other little things I have there – my rosary from Santa Maria Maggiore and the note Eric wrote on our wedding day that came with roses and is now in a frame. I’ll share photos of those two things soon as well. But for now, I feel like our bedroom is looking wonderful. Now on to my next projects – I’m focusing on the office next.