Monday, August 29, 2011


I was shopping when I came across this gentlemen who lives in Alaska.  He is a cyclist and bicycle repair man who got tired of seeing all the old bicycle parts go to waste and started to recycle them.  He makes beautiful custom fit bracelets with the spokes of the wheels.  From swirls to waves, words and more the creativity is endless.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

cajun shrimp at home...

Chris and I like to cook together.  But occasionally, I like to cook for him and when I decide to do that I like to cook things we don't normally have.  This is the second time I've decided to cook a shrimp dish.  We don't really do Cajun at home often, if we are in the mood for Cajun style grub we meander down to Beale Street Grill where they serve up a mean blackened catfish and just about anything you can think of fried.  It's enough to make your mouth water just thinking about it, however, with my renewed healthy living I wanted something a little less... fried and caloric.  This seemed to be a perfect fit, and after we ate it we decided it definitely was.  It was relaxing to peal the shrimp and chop all the veggies, setting up my mise en place (which, I've found is a very important factor in cooking).  

I've shared the recipe below, it takes a whopping 15 minutes to make and every bite is worth it.  Try it out with your favorite wine.  


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 bunches scallions, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges, for serving (optional


Heat the butter, olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the Cajun seasoning and shrimp and cook, stirring, until the shrimp begin to curl, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the tomatoes and scallions to the skillet and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add the rice and 1/4 cup water and continue to cook until the rice is warmed through and the shrimp are opaque, about 3 more minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve with lemon, if desired.

Recipe via

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Inspiration.. but, not too much!

Here I sit, perusing through Real Simple and InStyle's September issues... hoping, praying for some fashion inspiration for both my mental creative outlet (Le Blog) and my fall to winter wardrobe...

Some things that I see, and like:
        Jewel tones (teal, magenta, violet) are still in *yay*!
        Pleats!  Who does not love a maxi, or tea length pleated skirt!?
        Prepilly (Is that a word? Did I just make it up, who knows?!) adorned flats and heels - I'm loving         seeing that the vamped up footwear I bought last season still has purpose moving into Fall of '11.
        Handbags with serious structure
        Big chunky knits with no real shape

All of the above things make me want to take my hard earned (overtime) money and head to the mall, Marshalls, The Gap, and Forever 21...   I am trying to hold back the urge to do so!  *Lord grant me the strength!*

Busy weekend again, not as busy as past weekends.  We (MGOS) had a great showing today at Wedgestock, and hopefully another at Fiddler's Fair tomorrow.

What are you favorite trends moving into Fall?

*this would be the second, possibly third post regarding fall wardrobe so if you don't feel so inclined to comment or even read any further on my semi boring life, fashion, irish dance rants.  Don't feel obligated.  I promise in the future to have more insightful, humorous, and potentially knowledgeable posts in the (maybe near) future.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bikini bod... for winter?

Yes that's right... Although most of us want a bikini body for spring into summer, I tend to focus my efforts for winter.  Here are my reasons:

1. Summer time festivities/weddings/activities keep me out of the gym, and although I do run 5K's a couple-few times a week, I don't really watch what I eat.  :)
2. Holiday preperation.  Ok I know nobody wants to hear that Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner - but, let's face it;  they are.   If your house is anything like mine, you eat... a lot.

So here are some programs that are my favorite for buffing up.

1. - Although it looks like it's meant for the expert, this program is built to be a work in progress.  It's all about technique and being sure you are executing the movements with proper form, even if you are doing them with little to no weight.  From your 90 year old grandma to a 7 year old child, these movements are great full body workouts.  3 days on, 1 day off the W.O.D. (Workout Of the Day) tells you what to do with video's to instruct you how to execute the movements properly.

2. Any Jillian Michaels workout - Along the same lines as the Crossfit workouts, high cardio, low rest period.  Even though Chris would argue she looks like a man.... she kicks my butt like a chick with a bad attitude.  I strongly suggest her OnDemand workouts if you have cable.

3. Yoga - a great Yoga and/or Pilates regiment (once or twice a week) is just enough to lengthen and relax your muscles.  Especially if you're weight lifting and doing a lot of cardio.

4. A well balanced diet - Studies say that although exercise is very important, diet is just as, if not more important.  Stick to foods that come from the Earth, and cut out anything processed.

These are just a few things I'm going to be sticking to this fall - winter, to "keep" my bikini body..

no pain, no gain


Friday, August 12, 2011

kids really do say the darnest things...

Last night I taught a great dance class.  We are currently preparing for our upcoming shows, next weekend, and every week more and more kids show up!  It's very exciting.  Unfortunately, I didn't teach a lot of these students last year and so, I don't know most of the kids names!  It's a tiny bit embarassing to say the least, I mean - some kids I know very well, see them every week, etc.  
Either way we are practicing the Sweets of May.  Now, those of you readers who are Irish dancers, and thus familiar with the dance know that it's super fun!  I go to "review" the beginning, and I'm lilting the tune "bah, da, dum, de dum de dittly dum...".  After they've completed the first "movement"/ring, I say "well, let's try that again and make it a little neater"... One of my students turns to me and exclaims
"It's much easier to dance with the music!"
I looked at her with confusion and said
"But, I'm singing the tune!"
They all laughed and claimed I (a well trained singer) didn't sound anything like it!

All I can do at that point is laugh.

From little moments like that to one student repetedly saying "Miss Nina!" until I turn and answer, you really never know what you're going to get from week to week.  That is what makes every class truly special and enjoyable.

That's all I've got today - headed out of town for the weekend.

enjoy yours

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Steal of the week...

nine west
nude flats

these beauties made my day yesterday
and for a fraction of the cost - wouldn't you indulge?

tuesday thoughts...

Happy Tuesday peeps.  I sincerely apologize for the lack of snaps lately - again, no internet leaves me to blog from my iPhone and the Picasa upload system distorts the photo's somethin' awful.   I'm hoping that my schedule frees up soon and I can spend some quality time in a few of my favorite places (Boulder Coffee, Muddy Waters *new location*, and Chris's) mooching the internet access...  In the mean time I'll just keep collecting snappy snaps of my favorite days. 

As summer comes to an end, the school year recommences, and potential change is on the near horizon - I long for nights snuggled up on the couch, enjoying an inviting cup of tea and a good TV show (a tear inducing Grey's Anatomy, or dramatic Project Runway will do). 

I'm not sure how almost the entire summer passed with little girlfriend time with my besties.  That makes me incredibly sad, but I'm getting excited for O weekend.  A weekend where we are inevitably "working" yet, hanging out, rooting for our students, and hopefully shopping! :)

I do have a NYC getaway coming up!  Chris and I are visiting my friend Kelly (who I took my TC with) and her boyfrind Keith in September.   Speaking of TCRG, I must send my application back to CLRG this week - ugh, no more doddling!   Anyways I'm really excited to drive down spend some quality time w her and Kerry, shopping, and have the mens meet. 

Currently Reading: I discovered a new little blog lady to follow The Blonde Leopard - her post are adorable, and I love her style.  Check it out.  Also into The Man Repeller - thanks to Mar.  Her cynical and sarcastic point of view regarding style and why it's driving away men and their need for women, is quite enjoyable.  Check her out and I hope you get a chuckle out of her discussion...

Hope you all have a fab Tuesday...


Monday, August 8, 2011

prepping for fall...

As I sit here and think of how speedy the summer has passed, how the last thing I want to do is put on a sweater, or dust off my boots getting them ready for wear... I also want to be sure I'm prepared for the fall trends and activities.  (The MAR Oireachtas mainly, and even though I'm not a TCRG yet, I will still look like one:) Sorry to you non-Irish dance readers, the O is our Regional championship and Worlds qualifier)   I've been trying to do my homework and see which items would be the best things to add to my "fall into winter" transition.  Since I had bought a handful of sweaters last year, I should only have to purchase a few 2011 styled items.   I generally always go for the basics - a good pump, a nice neutral flat, a go-to sweater, great pair of jeans, white button down oxford, and a neutral blazer.   All items which, are surely still in style, but thatare "staples".    I will say I do need a new oxford and my neutral blazer is dated as well. 

While doing my homework there are a few places that are my go-to stores to tell me the following:
1. What is in style
2. What is affordable.

Those stores are generally The Gap, American Eagle, and Marshall's.  AE you might say is too young for me, but I've been buying their clothes for so long - I can't let go.  It's the inexpensive American Apparel in my book, and you can actually buy items that don't have their name plastered across the front. 

New items I will add to my list this year may include...
a few nice tops- long and 3/4 sleeve, silky material , good for layering
a bold colored cardigan- currently own 3 grey... as if I don't own enough grey clothing, also great for layering
a pencil skirt -every year I say "I need one" and never actually make a purchase - it's got to be the shopping bulimia Chris claims I have
another pair of Gap jeans- honestly, they are the most comfy skinny jeans I've purchased to date, and although they stretch out far too fast for my liking, they don't FALL off my behind like others do which makes them get my vote!
big, chunky, fuzzy sweater - great for weekends and honestly, you can never have too many
oxford shirt - I definitely need a few of these actually, good thing my employer rarely enforces business dress...
neutral flatteringly (<-- is that a word?!) fitting blazer- obviously, everyone should have one of these - and mine is seriously dated and a bit too heavy for the peak of fall...

The list will eventually go on and on (which is why I NEVER obtain all of the items :-/ ). It's so hard to narrow it down... if only I could win the lottery ....queue the day dreaming.

What is on your fall shopping list?

Friday, August 5, 2011


Hello friends.... It's been a busy summer and it's getting busier!

Last weekend we had the last Piccini picnic at the Homestead (grandparents house, and center of congregation for about 50 years). It was a very emotional day - pictures to follow. I have a lot of fond memories there and absolutely adore that house.

Dance classes fully commenced this week and we sent our invites out to the Oireachtas candidates. I am so excited to see what our kids have in them. They are getting SO GOOD!!!!

This weekend we are headed to Stonybrook for some camping! I can't wait to escape my busy life and slow down for a couple days!

What do you have planned this weekend?