If it’s not right, a left-hook will take you down

This week has been filled with two major stories of men, both athletes who have either abused or killed their girlfriend. It’s a story we see and hear far too often and one that I feel I must discuss. It’s not often that I pull my own life into this blog and perhaps that’s the problem. So I’m going to try something new. Some may be personal stories, others real news. I think so many blogs try to sugarcoat marriage. I’ve never done that and have no intention to start now. If you don’t…let me know. I think some of it is my own written therapy so bear with me while I work through some things.

We now have two men…both athletes…one in South Africa, one in the US. One for murder, the other (because she didn’t want to file more serious charges) a simple assault. Both have lost lucrative jobs and advertising dollars. Both have said, “I’m sorry”, but I ask, sorry for what? Killing her or getting caught on videotape.”pastorias

Oscar Pistorius 6 ½ month trial found him guilty of homicide (which manslaughter here in the US). This is due to the much higher level of intent in S.A., with respect to premeditation (which the opposing council didn’t prove).   At the sentencing phase and under South African law, he could get up to 10 years in prison on the weapons charge and another 15 for homicide. In the end… It won’t bring Reeva Steenkamp back. There is rumor that there was often unrest in their home…but we’ll never know.rice

Now, ironically almost one year to the day, Valentine’s Day weekend in 2014 Ray Rice, in a fit of (drunken) rage hits his now wife, Janay Palmer. It seems they were having an argument and once they got inside the elevator, his method of resolving it was to hit her with a short, vicious left hook, as if she were a man, causing her to hit her head and pass out. Seriously, did he not get the memo that there are video cameras everywhere, or did he think that his celebrity was so great that no one would dare care? Further didn’t his parental figure tell him, “YOU NEVER HIT A GIRL NO MATTER WHAT”!?

This is someone you love right Ray? HOW COULD YOU DO THAT??!? Janay Palmer was lucky, she made it out of that elevator alive. In the end Janya is standing by the man who punched her lights out. He’s standing by the woman who spat in his face. Janay went to social media to say, “To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday (sic) is a horrible thing,” she wrote.  “To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE!” Sadly, she’s right. We, general public, can be outraged, tell her to walk/run away and say “what we would do if it was us”, but the fact is…it’s not you, this is not your story and our collective 3cents has no impact on their relationship. They have chosen to stick together, and like it or not, we have no say in the matter. It’s between them and no one else.

You never truly know what goes on in another’s relationship or behind closed doors of someone. You never know the struggles they have. Sometimes you reach out to a friend and share bits/pieces, but they only hear your side. Sometimes, there is a party where one wants to go and the other wants to stay, and there may be a bit of pushing or grabbing of an arm or just a “look”. Most only show the joy but if you look closely in the eyes of a victim, you’ll see their constant fear and sadness. So why post about this here? Knowledge is key. Abuse doesn’t have to be physical…it can be emotional and mental as well. How do I know…been there…divorced that…lived through it…came out of it and now happy. I promised myself when I got my divorce that I would never, ever be with a man who would look me in the eye and lie (my ex mastered this), even lies of omission (where bits/pieces are selectively left out of the story) which are the worse in my book. That’s when someone just thinks they can get over on you, but really you know the truth. If you give enough rope, some are stupid enough to hang themselves. I’m grateful that I have someone in my life that is the complete opposite of my ex. That’s not to say our relationship is perfect, but at least we are working on it.

So I ask you, dear reader…be honest, not with me, but with yourself. Have you ever been in an abusive relationship? Do you even know what abuse looks like…feels like? Here are some clues:

What Does An Abusive Relationship Look Like?

Does your partner ever….

Embarrass you with put-downs?

Never give you a compliment or tells you what to wear?

Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
Push you, slap you, choke you or hit you?
Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
Control the money in the relationship? Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
Make all of the decisions?
Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away your children?
Prevent you from working or attending school?
Act like the abuse is no big deal, deny the abuse or tell you it’s your own fault?
Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
Attempt to force you to drop criminal charges?
Threaten to commit suicide, or threaten to kill you?

If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, you may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. In this section, you’ll find all sorts of information on different forms of abuse. Don’t hesitate to chat or call (1-800-799-SAFE) if anything you read raises a red flag about your own relationship or that of someone you know.

Look….I’m not here to pass judgement. We all do what’s best for us at the moment.  I just pray that for Janays’ sake that this was a once in a lifetime occurrence. There are many things that I might put up with, but one for I won’t for sure.  I will never-ever stand for a man to lay a hand on me…or any woman that I know. That is not acceptable behavior and I won’t put up with it.

What’s your opinion??

Wine Wednesday : One Skillet Lasagna say yummmy

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Its that time again…I’m in the middle of New York Fashion Week. Have you been keeping up with some pictures on @Bridalease on Instagram? If you haven’t, please do so. As you may know, when we head into bridal season, that’s where you’ll get info first.

It’s been pretty crazy trying to keep up and for you my loyal readers…I’m so sorry. With cooler weather in NY I thought of what would be my quick and comfort food…and this One Skillet Lasagna is quick and easy.   I promise you it is ooey-gooey cheesy goodness. Try it this weekend. I would, but between a meeting on Sat., and then a birthday party for a wonderful woman on Sat pm…I won’t have time to join you while you cook, but trust me. It’s awesome!!

One Skillet Lasagna

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

Red-pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Two 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes

1 basil sprig, plus a handful of basil leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

One 9-ounce package no-boil lasagna noodles (such as Barilla brand)

4 ounces mascarpone cheese or cream cheese

½ pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced and patted dry

  1. In a large lidded high-sided skillet with a 3-quart capacity set over high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the sausages and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat, until browned, about 4 minutes. Leaving as much oil in the skillet as possible, transfer the sausage to a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion, garlic and a pinch of red-pepper flakes to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano and the tomatoes and their juices, crushing the tomatoes with your hands or a potato masher. Add the reserved sausage and any juices and the basil sprig. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Check the seasonings (it should be a little salty) and remove and discard the basil sprig.
  3. Break half the lasagna noodles in half crosswise (it’s fine if smaller pieces break off) and push each piece into the sauce under the sausage, distributing them evenly throughout the pan. Break the remaining noodles in half and distribute them evenly over the sauce, then push down on them with the back of a spoon to submerge them. Cover the pan and gently simmer (raising the heat a little, if needed) until the noodles are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 12 minutes.
  4. Dollop the mascarpone over the lasagna and swirl it into the sauce. Top with the mozarella and gently simmer, covered, until the mozzarella melts, about 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the skillet from the heat and top the lasagna with the basil leaves, tearing any large leaves into smaller pieces. Let the lasagna rest, uncovered, for about 10 minutes before serving.

Wine Wednesday is all Thai’d up

Last week….the guy I’m dating shared he was having a really bad week. He was working a super difficult project at work, he was beyond tired, a bit cranky (some days more than a bit but…) and to top it off, he was jonzin’ for Thai food for dinner. So he went to his local restaurant…all ready to chow down, only to find that they were closed. ARGH!!! I’ve been there. Wanting something and it not being open… So… This week’s Wine Wednesday is dedicated to Thai & my guy (yes an unintentional rhyme).

Any of these three will be a hit in your home. This first is especially wonderful because if you don’t like the coconut rice, you can substitute white, jasmine or brown…I just think the coconut milk gives it a wonderful soothing flavor.

So what do you pair Thai food with? One of my personal favorites is a slightly sweet Rieslings. The slight sweetness and floral notes in Rieslings and similar wines go very well with the many flavors of Thai food. The sugar adds to the mouth-feel of wine and mitigates the effect of chilli and spice on the palate. Sweetness in wine also works well with the savory dishes that are on the sweet side in Thai cuisine.

never drink tannic wines with Thai food. The prominent flavors of Thai food – spicy, hot and sour are all horrible for big, tannic wines. Spice, chilli-heat, and acidity will make tannic wine taste bitter, ruining the experience with both the food and the wine. So, keep your fancy Bordeaux and expensive Cabs away from Thai food. If at all else fails – a great IPA ice-cold will do nicely!

Roasted garlic butter shrimp with coconut rice recipeshrip

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the roasted garlic

1 garlic bulb

3 teaspoons olive oil

For the rice

1 cup white basmati rice

1 cup light coconut milk

1/2 cup water (slightly more or less depending on the size of your rice cooker)

1 tablespoon coconut flakes

3 roasted garlic cloves, chopped

For the shrimp

14 large, raw, deveined and peeled shrimp

2-1/2 tablespoons butter

2 dashes ancho chili powder

Juice from 1/2 a lime

4 dashes salt

4 dashes ground black pepper

3 roasted garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup chopped green onions (for garnish)

1 lime, quartered (for garnish)

 

Directions:

For the roasted garlic

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the bulb of garlic in the middle of a square piece of foil. Drizzle olive oil on top of the garlic. Wrap the foil in a “tent,” and bake the garlic for about 25 minutes. Let the roasted garlic cool, and then squeeze the 6 garlic cloves out from their skins. Chop the garlic cloves, and set them aside.

For the rice

Rinse the rice, and add it to a rice cooker. Add the coconut milk and water up to the liquid line in the rice cooker. Let the rice cook until done. Stir in the chopped garlic.

Stir in the coconut flakes.

For the shrimp

Heat a medium skillet on low to medium heat. Add the butter, chili powder, lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir together. Add the shrimp, and stir until cooked (about 3 to 4 minutes). Just before the shrimp is done, stir in the chopped garlic. Serve the shrimp over a bed of coconut rice. Drizzle the remaining butter from the pan over the shrimp and rice.

Top with chopped green onions and lime juice.

Tom Yum (Hot and Spicy Soup)tomyum

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

1 rolls (packaged soba noodles)
4 cups chicken stock
10 kaffir lime leaves*
3 stalks fresh lemongrass, crushed*
1/2 pound peeled shrimp
1 tablespoon chili oil
1 cup whole straw mushrooms*
6 fresh Thai chilies
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
4 stalks green onion, chopped

Directions:
Bring chicken stock to a boil. Add lime leaves and lemongrass. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove lemongrass with a slotted spoon and turn the heat to high. Add shrimp, chili oil, mushrooms and chilies. Boil mixture until shrimp are cooked, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from stove and mix in fish sauce and lime juice. Garnish with green onions.

*Kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and straw mushrooms are available at Thai or Asian markets and some supermarkets. If you can’t find them, talk to the supermarket produce manager to make sure you haven’t overlooked them.

Thai chicken with basil thai-chickenbasil-recipe

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon water

1-1/2 cups basil leaves

1/2 onion, sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, halved

1 red bell pepper, sliced

Olive oil

Salt

 

Directions:

Combine fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and water in a bowl. Add chicken.

In a nonstick pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Add the garlic, cooking until it starts to brown. Add the chicken, leaving the marinade in the bowl. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through. Add the marinade to the pan and cook another 1-2 minutes. Season with salt, if needed. Remove from heat and stir 1 cup of basil into hot chicken. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of basil just before serving.

Who knows….perhaps one day I’ll fix one of these for him….or just stick to his favorite everyday kind of food….Cheese & Macaroni. Happy Wine Wednesday

Wine Wednesday: End of Summer Bourbon Burgers and sauce

Can’t believe that Summer is quickly fading away…. No more barbeque…no more beach…no more summer travel. Sigh!! Wait – did I say no more burgers – never!! If you love bourbon, you can and will love this burger. I prefer a good bourbon and Coke when I’m hanging out with the guys. By taking bourbon from the glass to your food, will surely create a well-balanced experience. You can incorporate as much or as little of the sauce as you want but remember….THIS IS NOT CHILD FRIENDLY!!! It’s a little smoky, a little spicy, a little messy – but you will be licking your fingers so no worries.

Bourbon burger and sauce recipe

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:Bourbonburger11

For the bourbon burgers

  • 1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 slices cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices baked bacon, cut in half
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3-4 buns
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 4 large lettuce leaves

For the bourbon sauce

  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup

Directions:

  1. Preheat your grill to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the meat, bourbon, garlic powder, salt and Worcestershire sauce. Mix using your hands. Form 3 to 4 large patties, and indent the centers using your thumb.
  3. Place the patties on a well-oiled grilled, and cook for 15 minutes or until done.
  4. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the onions, and cook until tender. While the onions and the patties are cooking, get the ingredients for the bourbon sauce ready.
  5. To a small pot over low-medium heat, add all the ingredients for the bourbon sauce. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then remove from heat.
  6. To make the burgers, layer the bottom bun with lettuce, tomato, patty, cheese, onions, bacon, bourbon sauce and then the top of the bun.

 

You can also try this grilled salmon recipe using a delicious bourbon-soy marinade.

Ingredients

  • 4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

Directions

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large plastic bag with a seal-able top.
  2. Add the salmon, seal the bag, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning the bag once.
  3. Remove the salmon from the bag and discard the marinade.
  4. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill the salmon for 5 minutes on each side, or until it flakes when a fork is inserted.

No matter which you choose, enjoy these last days of summer nights, wine on the deck, kids in the pool and fireflies at night. Happy Wine Wednesday!

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Wine Wednesday celebrates Reds and Grilled Porterhouse with Chimichurri Sauce

Hello!!  I’m waving to you!

I know it’s been a while and I’m sorry.  You know – life! There are tons of new things that are happening and there is going to be a new “addition” to what you’ve seen here in the past.  It’s a little more raw…a little more vulnerable…open..and truthful. I’ve been working on it for a while and lately feel like it’s time to take you on a ride with me.  Do you want to come??  I hope so.  But since the summer winding down (where did it go?!?), I thought a wonderful steak would be a great thing to share – along with what became my favorite wine this summer.

First – what a lucky girl am I?? My boyfriend (are they still called that when you’re over 30?) took me to the South of France for holiday. I KNOW!! It was all his planning (which means I wasn’t working on a review of a property), with the perfect house rented, with pool and nothing on the agenda but having wine, cheese and fun.

Upon our arrival we went looking for the house, sort of found, it but had to wait for the owner to come to give us the keys.  Starving from our travels we finally found a place that prepared our first meal of steak, fries and served some amazing wine. I mean we’re in France…there is no such thing as bad wine in France.  Domanie du Coulet Rouge a beautiful medium-bodied red quickly became our favorite and I dare say one we both wish we could bring cases of back home.  This is a easy drinking wine that pairs well with a firm cheese, figs or in this case would be perfect with steak.  walkwithshaemylove

This is us on our property in France…during our Wine Wednesday walk through the lavender

Now, this PorterHouse is pretty easy to make and the Chimichurri Sauce can be as spicy as you want it to be, just use some of the jalapeno seeds.  To have a wine like the Domanie is a perfect compliment because the steak doesn’t overpower the flavor.  So I’ll tell you more about the wines we fell in love with in France next time.  I’ll also be sharing some of the adventures and people we met.  It was an amazing time to be with someone I truly love.

Happy Eating and Happy Wine Wednesday – Cheers! steak

This take on the classic Argentinean condiment includes a little heat in the form of a jalapeño; it’s a perfect pairing for a big, beefy porterhouse steak.

  • 1 (2-inch-thick) porterhouse steak (about 2-3/4 lb.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar, more as needed
  • 2 medium cloves garlic

1 small jalapeño

Season the steak well with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour or refrigerate uncovered for up to 48 hours. Meanwhile, make the chimichurri: In a blender, purée the parsley, cilantro, oil, vinegar, garlic, jalapeño, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp.  pepper, adding more oil as needed. Transfer to a small bowl and season to taste with more salt and vinegar, if needed.

If the steak is refrigerated, let it come to room temperature before grilling. For a charcoal grill, light a chimney starter full of charcoal and bank the coals against one side of the grill. For a gas grill, start with all burners on medium high and then turn off one or more of the burners to create a hot zone and a cool zone.

Pat the steak dry and grill over the hottest part of the grill, rotating it occasionally to create a crust, until well browned on one side, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip and sear the other side.

Move the steak to the cooler part of the grill, cover, and cook to your desired doneness (about 14 to 18 minutes for medium-rare). Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving with the chimichurri sauce.

Make Ahead Tips

The sauce will keep in the fridge for 1 week.

New “Flavors” from Spa Sonic

 

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