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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

march photo a day challenge.

well february has almost beat it and i am way too pumped to say that i completed the photo challenge i mentioned here. it was fun to particiapte in, and i ended up getting a lot of really sweet pictures out of the whole rigmarole. for those of you who participated as well, kudos, a pat on the back for you. for those of you who missed it, don't fret my pet, you can give the march photo challenge a whirl! fat mum slim posted the new list of photos to tackle each day, so give yourself something to do that will help make 'miserable march' a little more fun. i'm already excited for 18, 21 & 26. here's the list!
and for kicks, here are some of the last few pics i added this week.
night. something you're listening to. green. something you ate.

 because i couldn't resist, i told you so. my favourite thing about checking my blogger stats, is the "search keywords" results, which basically shows what the hell people are randomly searching, that lead them to finding pretty things & potty mouths. here is a screenshot of the search keywords for yesterday. i told you i wasn't the only one who couldn't take my eyes off jennifer lopez's sweater meat at the oscars.
it actually kills me.

Monday, February 27, 2012

and the oscar goes to: jennifer lopez's tits.

the oscars. no better  way to remind myself that i am not a millionaire, will never live in hollywood and wore a wedding dress that cost less than most of the attendees shoes underwearyet year after year i keep crawling back for more.

in my opinion, the best part of the entire production is and always has been, what everyone is wearing. and the garbs that graced the red carpet last night did not disappoint. for what it's worth, these are my favourite ladies and gents of the evening. 

ladies first. jennifer lopez came simply and classicly accessorized in lorraine schwartz diamond earrings, a sleek bun and of course, the signature showpiece being her perky hammers. i couldn't keep my eyes off of them the entire time, and neither could everyone else apparently, her dress has been buzzing in all the "best dressed" talk this morning. sure it was a tad risqué with the plunging neckline and sheer details, but when you look like j-lo, you really have no choice but to wear that dress. maria menounos and rooney mara were a little more covered up, yet equally gorgeous in a green maria lucia hohan gown and winter white givenchy couture.
apparently trains and updo's really did it for me. 
let's hear it for the boys. tuxedo's seemed to be the classic choice last night and i was loving all the satin details. brad pitt, the man who doesn't age, was handsome as all get out in tom ford. from his shoulder length locks and beautifully trimmed goatee (which i am not usually a fan of), he was just perfection. the only accessory he could have done away with, was that dirtball angelina. team jen! tom ford also dressed bradley cooper and his mustache beautifully. the satin lapels on both brad's were perfect. pharrell williams, whose style i love, was super cute in a three piece tux and suede bow tieapparently bow ties and satin details did it for me.

by the way. who won what?

Friday, February 24, 2012

because words mean everything.

just because valentine's day has come and gone, doesn't mean you can't keep sharing the 
love with your favourite. here's a little something to get you mushy for the weekend.
even after all this time, 
the sun never says to the earth
"you owe me."
see what happens with a love like that,
it lights the whole sky.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

my name is amanda, and i'm a crafting hoarder.

paul and i have been married for eight months now, yet as of this morning, my "wedding room" (originally our office, turned wedding project storage) looked exactly the same way it did the day we got married: like an episode of hoarders. packed to the tits with arts and crafts supplies, michael's bags full of fabulous shit, half started projects and a plethora of "i'll get to this one day", i put the clean up off for as long as i could. normally i keep the door to that 'martha stewart hell hole' closed shut, so i don't have a constant reminder of how horrendously embarrassing it is, but for some reason, this morning when i walked past to go for a piddle, i noticed the door had crept open. i peeked in. cringed back. looked again with one eye open, nope, still nasty. it was like watching someone catapult a watermelon right off the kisser, you don't want to watch, but you can't help yourself. in that moment i realized something about myself. it all sort of hit me like a tonne of bricks:

i, amanda cowley, am a crafting hoarder. 
everyone in unison: "hiiii amandaaaa"

now, only a handful of things have embarrassed me in my entire lifetime. like the time when i was 10, wearing my ma's bikini bottoms (that were too big, but not by much) in a canoe, and my uncle threw a sunfish that he had caught at me. in the blink of an eye, the fish flopped right into my bathing suit bottoms, cutting my wee arse right open. i have despised fish ever since, and will only go near one if it is on my plate with a side of veg. then there was the time i applauded a transgender male for having the balls to pull off dark lipstick, as most girls don't have the balls to even try it. but probably the most embarrassing moment, was the time i asked a girl if she was pregnant, not once, but three times, when she definitely, was not pregnant. 

what you are about to see, is one of the most embarrassing things i have ever shared in my life.
don't judge me. when i see something i like, or think i might need, i buy it. and then i put it in this room until i find an excuse to use it to make whatever it was that inspired me to buy it in the first place. as you can see, sometimes things sit around for a long time. i'm honestly horrified. tackling this room and all the jazz in it was something i put on my 30 by 30 list. i knew it had to be done, it was just a matter of when. and today, was the day. after a quick trip to wal-mart (paul can't know about the wal-mart purchases. i tell him i shop at canadian tire. he boycotted wal-mart a long time ago, but the canadian tire storage selection was subpar in welland today) i rushed home and got to work. for some reason, i have to make an even bigger mess to get to the point where i can start making sense of all the shit in front of me. but three hours later, i stepped back to appreciate my new found 'martha stewart heaven'. she would be proud.
it's amazing what $80 dollars worth of storage bins, a roll of shelf liner, three garbage bags of crap and two full recycle bins can do for you: i feel like i lost 10 pounds. i got to cross off another item on my list, and feel even more motivated to finish up some of the projects i have started, but haven't had time to get around to. today i hit rock bottom, and it changed my way of thinking. i plan to stay away from michael's for the next few months weeks, and will only buy supplies as i need them. no matter how pretty the paper or ribbon is, or how many 40% off coupons they try to shove down my pants.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

famiglia day: nonna's sugo & meatballs edition.

yesterday was family day. a lovely little excuse to spend a day with your famiglia, and get paid for it. ahhhhh thank you canada. this year, i knew exactly how i wanted to spend this special little day: in my nonna's kitchen (the one in the basement. not the nice one upstairs. never that one), learning how to make her sugo and meatballs. and, so that y'all are on the same page:

famiglia ~ family
nonna ~ grandmother
sugo ~ sauce

i figured i would kill two birds with one stone, and squeak in a 30 by 30 item that i have wanted to accomplish for some time. i called my nonna to make sure she was down with the plan, and figured out what i needed to buy and bring to her house. because the whole famiglia attends dinner, we needed to make enough for 10 of us. plus enough for everyone to have left overs. which is a lot. she told me to pick up a few things, and i wrote a list with plans to shop the day before. just as we headed out the door to pick everything up, my mom called me:

ma: "amanda. don't buy anything for tomorrow".
me: "but why? i have a list".
ma: "nonna bought all of it already".
me: "of course she did".

it's what she does. so all i had to do was show up, with coffee, ready to work. 
now because homemade pasta is a day long process, we decided to save it for another day. part two if you will. 

how we do: nonna's sugo & meatballs
nonna's sugo
{makes 8 mason jars of sauce. ridiculous.}
prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 6 hours
eating time: speed of light

you will need:
a huge ass pot
olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
2 mason jars of nonno's crushed tomatoes
2 cans crushed tomatoes
4 large cans of tomato paste
seasonings~ garlic powder, salt & pepper
on high heat, coat the base of your pot with a generous layer of olive oil. add 2 cloves of sliced garlic and allow to fry for about 5 minutes-before it starts getting any colour. run 2 mason jars of nonno's crushed tomatoes from the garden through a food mill, and add to your olive oil and garlic. mix well and allow to simmer on high heat. if you don't have access to mason jars of nonno's crushed tomatoes from the garden, you can add 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes instead. nonna always uses 'unico'. 
yes, it makes a difference.

while that's bubbling away, in a bowl combine 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes and 4 large cans of tomato paste. again, 'unico' only for this nonna. swirl a bit of water around your cans and add to the tomatoes. this will make it easier to mix everything. add this to your pot and stir until combined. add your seasonings to taste, about 3 tablespoons of garlic powder and salt & pepper (nonna spilled some pepper while doing this step, causing her to yell "shuck". which in nonna, is a combo of "shit" and "fuck". she's allowed to make up words and use them whenever she sees fit). add a few cups of water to your sauce, enough that your pot is now 3/4 full. the water will evaporate away and leave you with a nice, smooth consistency. allow it to come to a boil and sim simma.while your sugo is doin' it's thang, you can work on the meatballs.

nonna's meatballs
{makes approx 50 meatballs. again. ridiculous.}
   prep time: 20 minutes
cook time: 2 hours

you will need:
2 packages of ground beef
2 packages of ground pork
3 large eggs
1/2 mason jar of nonno's (or canned) crushed tomatoes
2 nonna handfuls of bread crumbs
2 nonna handfuls of parmesan cheese
seasonings ~ garlic powder, salt & pepper, paprika

combine all ingredients in a bowl, adding  the seasonings to taste. add your crushed tomatoes last, making sure you mix everything well. i didn't know she added tomatoes to the meatballs until yesterday. my mom didn't either. she smirked when we told her this, like she had been keeping this filthy little secret from everyone for all these years. roll the meatballs to your desired preference. if you're like my nonna,  you may prefer to rock out balls of the larger variety. if you are a fan of medium sized balls, like myself, that's ok too. just try and keep them as consistent as possible, so they cook fully and evenly.
once your sauce has been boiling for about an hour, you can add these bad boys to your sugo! note: italians do not cook their meatballs before putting them into the sauce. they will tell you that pan frying, or even baking them, creates a seal around the ball, making it difficult for them to soak up the sauce while cooking, which is the key to getting moist, juicy balls. trust me. no one likes shrivelled, dried up balls. at this point, nonna will also add chicken drumsticks, spare ribs and hot italian sausages. this adds to the flavour of the sauce and gets served as a side with dinner.

allow the meatballs to simmer in the sauce until they are fully cooked, which takes around 2 hours. at this point, you can remove the balls, reduce the heat and leave the sauce to continue simmering. 2 hours later, your sugo is finished and you can boil your pasta. throw your meatballs back into the sauce to heat up again, and it's time to get dirty.
i had the most wonderful day in nonna's kitchen, and am over the moon that i finally learned how to make her sugo & meatballs from scratch. it's something that was passed onto her, and that i can pass on to my kids--i think that's my favourite thing about food. it brings us together as a family, it makes you feel good; it's food for your soul. or is it nonna herself that's doing all that?
i hope you had a happy famiglia day!

Friday, February 17, 2012

cheers to the freakin' weekend.

it's friday and it's more than my feet that are itchy for the weekend to start. it's a long weekend here in ontario, and thanks to a few lieu days and some banked time at work, i am taking an extra, extra long weekend; five whole glorious days. the best part is, paulie got the time off too. as tempting as it is to put on my tights, one of the boys hoodies and plant my lazy ass on the couch, i have already filled each day with things to cross off my mental 'to do' list. i have a couple 30 by 30 items i plan to will complete, a date with the pooch for an extra long hike, hit up some day classes at the gym (i know, amanda? the gym?), spend time with friends and family and hopefully sneak in a day of well deserved dick all.

enjoy your weekend!

ps-i am lovin' the 'photo a day' bidness i've been participating in. 
here are a few of the shots i have grabbed over the last few weeks.
.10am. something blue. hands. button.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

quick & easy: just how your valentine should be.

i promised myself i would pump out some serious valentine's day baking this year. i planned what i was going to make and even bought some of the ingredients needed to create the prettiest heart shaped homemade sugar cookies with royal icing. and then i got lazy. so i made these instead. they take around 30 minutes to make from start to finish + cooling time, and are the perfect bite size mix of salty and sweet. they are super cute, festive, fun to hand out and worth a try.

how we do: valentine's day pretzel bites
{make as many or as little as you like}
prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 3 minutes
assembly time: 10 minutes
cooling time: 30 minutes
eating time: you can imagine

you will need:
small waffle pretzels
hershey kisses (i used cookies & cream)
red and pink smarties
the most annoying part of the whole process is removing the wrappers from your hershey kisses. 
once you get that out of the way, you're golden.
heat your oven to 350°. line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and start laying out your pretzels. the kisses will not spread out much more than the width of the pretzel, so you can lay out your pretzels side by side. set a hershey kiss on top of each, ensuring it's as centered as possible. pop them in the oven for 3 minutes, until they start to go shiny. depending on your oven, you may need to leave them a wee bit longer--you want to be able to easily press the smartie into the kiss. i alternated the red and pink, as i wanted to make sure i had an equal number of each. pop them in the fridge for a 1/2 hour, or until completely cooled. i prefer eating them chilled as well.
whether you share them from a pretty bowl, or package a few in a cello bag with a matching ribbon and love note, your valentine will never know you cheated them out of those sugar cookies. and if they do happen to find out, and have the nerve to complain, they can kiss your ass and make their own damn cookies. ahhhh love is in the air.

Friday, February 10, 2012

because words mean everything.

with valentine's day so close you could spit on it, i thought i would share some poem lovin' that 
makes me absolutely mushy inside. i honestly gasped out loud the first time i read it. 

ps-if there are any boys reading this, slip this poem into your lady friend's coat pocket for her to find.
i promise you her panties will slide right off. hopefully you will be around when they do.
{image via}

Monday, February 06, 2012

pretty girlie things: valentine's day nails.

ever since i was a wee lassie, i have loved having my nails did. i like how something as simple as pink nails can make you feel extra girlie and how the perfect colour can totally complete your outfit. and as much as i love having someone do my nails for me, i have finally learned how to give myself a proper manicure, including painting my nails so they don't look like a three year old with two left hands did it for me. with some guidance from my fabulous friend and personal beauty guru neena, check out her blog daily beautiful things, and lots of practice, i have donned some seriously stellar chicklets. because things like painted nails are at the top of my priority list, i have been scoping out some options for my valentine's day mani, and have come across a few super sweet contenders. 
with a little bit of inspiration, some patience and a lot of wine, it's amazing where your imagination can take you and your nails.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

february photo a day challenge.

i have always loved the idea of participating in a 'photo a day challenge' and how it kind of forces you to be inspired by the everyday things around you. so when i conveniently stumbled upon the "february photo a day challenge" on fat mum slim, i decided i would give it a whirl. i'm two days into the challenge and am already plotting and scheming the photos i get to take over the next month. i very much appreciate that there is a list of the photos you need to take, and how everyone's interpretation of those items vary from photo to photo. whether you choose to blog, facebook, tweet or my weapon of choice, instagram your photos, it's not too late to play along and make february a wee bit more fun. here's the list!

your view today. words.
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