Sunday, April 28, 2013

Best News of the Week

plus other great things the internet gave us

Best News of the Week goes to Dita Von Teese for inviting us into her rooms at the Carlyle Hotel to look around and drool over her lingerie and Louboutins.  The Coveteur caught up with the bombshell in New York to snap a few enchanting photos and get the scoop on her latest business ventures- a lingerie line and two new perfumes.  If you're not already familiar with Von Teese, suffice it to say she's the queen of vintage and that no one does retro like she can.  More than just a savvy business woman, Von Teese is a true visionary who has elevated burlesque dancing to an art form over the years, as well as successfully navigated her way through the limelight. Read more about what she's up to and check out the rest of the photos here.

In other news...

Mad Men made a 30 Rock reference last week

One of the biggest advocates against gay-marriage in France cast the wrong vote

The cupcake craze may finally be ending

A clip from the new season of Arrested Development has been released

Barack and Michelle defend their title as the coolest First Parents

Need Supply Co. put together this awesome tribute to freckles

The McConaughey Renaissance continues

Google's headquarters in NYC have hidden rooms behind bookcases

Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, went on a bad ass rant sticking up for herself on tumblr

American money is getting a new paint job


This mom captured what visiting a museum with a 12 year old is like.

Worst News of the Week goes to Wikipedia for sneakily segregating women and men on their pages and perpetuating negative cultural values.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rick Erwin's Deli

un petite morceau de France 

It's been a rainy Saturday, and Justin and I really needed to get out of the house.  To cure our cabin fever, we decided to finally try Rick Erwin's Deli; and let me tell you, it was amazing-definitely my new favorite spot.  Everything was dreamy down to the chalkboard menus and the adorable families with babies dressed in Breton stripes eating inside.  Plus, the chef, Emmanuel Hodencq, has a Michelin star (!!!!) and relocated from France just to work here.  He was walking around the deli, laughing and speaking French to people, which just made my little heart burst with joy.  

The deli has everything from lunch to small plates for dinner- including wine, cheese plates, and other little morsels like pâté for when you're just having a friend over to chat and snack.

They have anything and everything you would ever want to put on bread.

Meat treats!

I got the Camperdown Club with a side of pasta salad.  The sandwich was so fresh- nothing beats crisp lettuce- and I swear they were using French mayo, but don't quote me on that because it could just be wishful thinking.

Justin got the Ruben and some french fries, which he said was one divine, dirty mess.

Then we walked over to the dessert case, which was like a small sliver of France that had been plopped down in Greenville.

We opted for the macaroons-mainly because we were full, but also because Justin had never had one before.  They had amazing flavors like lime-basil, pistachio-praline, strawberry-rose, and citrus-ginger.

We ended up getting the dark chocolate and the buttersalt-caramel.  I wish I could have had one of each though!  Have you been to Rick's Deli yet? I'm dying to go back and would love a suggestion on what to try next!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What You Should Be Watching: Hannibal

do yourself and the show a favor

 image via Huffington Post

Have you been watching Hannibal on NBC?  If not, do yourself and the network a favor and tune in at 10 pm on Thursday nights.  The show is amazing and hopefully, with enough viewership, will be renewed for a second season.  Atmospheric and violent, Hannibal is both aesthetically beautiful and psychologically revolting.  The show delves into what the world might have been like before Dr. Hannibal Lecter, aka Hannibal the Cannibal of Thomas Harris' Red Dragon and Jonathan Demme's Silence of the Lambs infamy, was imprisoned.  The story centers around Will Graham, a special forensics consultant and teacher at the FBI academy, who was deemed too unstable for active duty.  Dr. Lecter is brought on as Graham's personal psychiatrist, and possible antagonist, after he is assigned to an especially disturbing case in the Midwest.  This week's episode is actually not being broadcast.  Rather, the show's creator, Bryan Fuller, asked that NBC refrain from airing it on T.V. due to the recent events in Newtown.  NBC will instead air the following installment in the story tonight.  However, the original episode is being released online and overseas.  

image via Salon

Mads Mikkelsen, who you may recognize as Le Chiffre from Casino Royale, plays Dr. Lecter.  What can more can I say but that the man was born to play a villain?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Best News of the Week

plus other great things the internet gave us

Best News of the Week goes to the good ol' boys of Daft Punk.  In classic French fashion, these two are still defining cool even after two decades of making music.  The song premiered as an ad at Coachella, which then showed up on SNL, and Pitchfork has more information for those curious about the evolution of the track.  If this isn't already blowing up your speakers, I would recommend standing up because this going to make you want to move.  Featuring Pharrell and Nile Rodgers, these gentlemen have just handed you to the soundtrack to your summer on a chrome platter.  Listen below:

In other news...

NASA found some Earth-like planets a couple light years away

This thoughtful critique of the new Dove ad campaign went viral on tumblr

The Hutchison brothers, of Frightened Rabbit, covered Cheap Trick for A.V. Club

Plane, train and automobile are no longer the only ways to travel

This interesting documentary about one of the real life Mad Men came out 

Record Store Day 2013 was yesterday

Just the Little Things, everyone's favorite tumblr/twitter account has a coffee table book coming out

Married to the Mob rounded up some of the baddest ladies' mugshots for your viewing pleasure

Here's an insightful video about the different ways you can get your daily caloric intake

Drake put out a new song sampling Say My Name by Destiny's Child


We got a dog!

Worst News of the Week goes to this awful girl for perpetuating negative stereotypes about Greek Life at colleges.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Meet Bandit

the little guy who stole our hearts

Say hello to the newest member of the Thompson-Howell household: Bandit!

Justin and I broke open our piggy bank today (metaphorically speaking, of course!) and got ourselves a dog!  We went to Greenville County Animal Care since we wanted to save a little guy or girl who might not ever make it to one of the humane societies. I wish I had gotten a picture of the complex because it was absolutely beautiful!  We were so surprised when we drove up.  We had been expecting the city pound or something, but the facilities looked almost like refurbished stables.  We had looked at the dogs online before coming, but all we really knew was that we wanted a medium sized dog that wasn't a puppy. 

After walking around, we stumbled upon Bandit, a two year old German Shepard mix, and it was love at first sight.  We took him outside to the courtyard to play with him and that really sealed the deal.  We were so lucky because Animal Care had taken amazing care of him, and he was totally healthy with all his shots and had even been neutered.  Also, if you adopt from Animal Care you have access to their veterinary clinic which is usually reserved for low-income families.  We bought Bandit a collar, tags and a crate there too because all the money goes back to the shelter.  It's a great organization, and everyone who worked and volunteered there was so nice.  They seem really busy and told us that we saved two lives, Bandit's and the dog that would get his space at the shelter.  If you have any free time and like to volunteer, I'm sure they would love an extra hand to help with the animals!

Bandit is so sweet and affectionate-we couldn't be happier!  He loves to give hugs and kisses, and we haven't heard him bark all day.  One of the nice things about adopting an older dog is that he's already crate and house trained.  Plus, he knows a few basic commands like sit and stay; and, apparently he can ring a bell when he needs to go out!


After the adoption, we headed over to Justin's dad's house for a play date so Bandit could meet his family and run off some of his extra energy.

Bandit's two uncles, Bruno and Rudy

Everybody got along really well, and it already seems like these three are going to be thick as thieves.

Here's to the first of many family portraits!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Graduation Dress Round Up

for your first trip down the aisle

Graduations are right around the corner; and while mine was last year, I know a ton of great girls who are getting ready to take the trip down the aisle.  Picking the right dress can be tricky- you don't want to be sweating under your robe but you also don't want all of your cleavage falling out while your dad tries to take your picture.  For some reason, even though I rarely ever wear white in everyday life, I'm a big fan of wearing white dresses for graduations.  Maybe it's because summer is finally here or maybe Catholic school just drilled it into my head, who knows?  Anyways, I wore a white, eyelet lace dress under the W&M gown to my own ceremony which was outdoors and then threw on a striped blazer for dinner that evening since I'm always chilly at restaurants.  Peep my look and 13 other dresses that I found for under $70 below:


$65 JCPenny

$41 LuLu's

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cooking Your Way Through Pintrest: Chicken Parm Orzo

is it rice? is it pasta?

I stumbled across this delicious looking bowl of orzo on Pintrest a few weeks back, and let me tell you-it tastes even better than it looks.  Plus, there's spinach in it, so you can pretend it's kind of healthy!  Justin grilled some chicken to add to our batch to make it a little heartier for dinner.  Whether you consider orzo a side like rice or a main course like pasta, you'll be asking for second helpings either way!

Chicken Parm Orzo adapted from Life as a Strawberry
2 1/2 cups orzo
2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
2 green onions, chopped
2 tsp flour
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup milk
2/3 cups spinach, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded, plus extra for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Cook orzo according to package directions. Set aside.
Toss chicken with salt and pepper. Grill to your liking. Chop into strips or bites and set aside with orzo.
Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, salt, and pepper and saute for 1 minute or until onions are clear. Add flour to form a roux and cook for an additional minute.
Add 1/4 cup of the milk to the skillet and whisk together to work out any lumps. When smooth, add the remaining milk and whisk again to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce has thickened, about 8 minutes.
Add chopped spinach to sauce and cook an additional 2 minutes or until spinach has cooked down. Remove sauce from heat.
Stir parmesan cheese into sauce. When cheese has melted, add cooked orzo and chicken to sauce and toss to coat. Top with extra parm and enjoy!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekend Edition: Asheville Breweries

beer city, usa 

For Justin's birthday, I took him to Asheville to take a few tours of the breweries there.  Asheville was dubbed Beer City USA in 2010.  According to the Asheville tourism site, "[duringan online poll celebrating American Craft Beer Week...passion for the small, but mighty, brewing culture of Asheville, North Carolina surpassed brewing giant Portland, Oregon."  We kicked off our trip with a stop at Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain, NC.

We started out with a flight of four delicious beers at Pisgah Brewing Company including the Valdez (coffee stout), the Nitro stout, the Pisgah IPA, and the Spring Wheat.

Justin ended up getting a pint, and later a growler, of the Pisgal Pale (not pictured).

The coffee stout was my favorite

The bar (cash only)!

I got a sample of the Bacon Beer- a mere 650 calories per glass, brewed in 100 pounds of bacon (100% all natural, grease included).

After that, we headed to Highland Brewing Company, about 20 minutes away.

I got the Chai Tea Dubbel, and Justin got the Devil's Britches IPA.

All the flowers seemed to have bloomed over Friday night; everything was gorgeous!

Highland was in a super cool, old factory.

This was our wonderful tour guide, Dirk.  He showed us the run of the brewery and was really up on his chemistry.  It turns out that Pisgah is a microbrewery producing 15,000 barrels of beer a year, and that Highland is a craft brewery, producing 30,000 barrels of beer a year.  Highland is also the third largest craft brewery in the southeast behind Abita and SweetWater.

At the beginning of the tour, Dirk gave us a sample of the Gaelic Ale and told everyone with a pint in their hands that they were now in Irish handcuffs.

Just wee bit different!

Dirk explained that the Y shape of these conical tanks is conduce to yeast production.

The sticker on the counter says "It's all about fermentation!"

Both tours were very cool and very informative.  If you like Breaking Bad, you'd love a brewery tour- science bitch!  In the picture above, you can see some yeast producing alcohol and carbon-dioxide in the sweet water, which is the essence of any brew.

Pisgah only offers kegs and growlers to reduce their carbon footprint; but here's the bottling line at Highland, and all the glass comes from Atlanta.

Kegs on kegs on kegs.

Flight at Highland.

The Gaelic Ale was definitely our all-year favorite.

Next door, Troy and Sons' Distillery had recently opened.

Troy and Sons specializes in spirits with no kick- and I mean that in the best way possible.  The founder is a woman with two sons in need of special medical attention.  She decided to start the brand after receiving bottles of moonshine  from the neighbors when her family moved from Austin, TX, to Asheville, NC.

Troy and Sons produces three types of whiskey- Platinum, Oak Reserve and Blonde.

Troy prides her operation on using heirloom corn, grown locally, which she attributes the smoothness of her spirits.  She won the silver medal at the NYISC 2011. 

Barrel-aged whiskey.

I loved their marketing:even the first president made shine!

Do you have a favorite brewery? I'd love to hear about it and any other travel tips!